First man in US receives full face transplant
Dallas Weins has been the first person in America to receive a full face transplant after a horrific electrical accident burnt his face off.
The 26-year-old father appeared in public for the first time on Monday since undergoing the surgery and said one of the best things was being able to feel his daughter kisses again.
He also hailed being able to breathe through his nose and smell again as more major highlights to the face transplant.
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The world’s first face transplant was unveiled in Spain last year, which followed the first ever partial face transplant in 2005 on a French woman who had been mauled by a dog.
Weins said no words could describe how grateful he was towards the family of the anonymous donor: “I can never express what has been done, what I have been given," he said.
He also credited his faith with giving him the courage to undergo continuous surgery: “Even though I'm in amazing hands here, I'm also in God's hands, and that alone has been a vast help to me.”
The revolutionary face transplant was funded by the US military in the hope that the results will enable future procedures to be carried out to treat soldiers with facial injuries.
Dr Jeffrey Janis, one of the doctors responsible for the face transplant from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said the face transplant “represents a new frontier in reconstructive surgery”.
In a statement the hospital also said that Weins’ new face would not resemble that of the donor: “The underlying facial bones and muscle of the recipient will change the shape of the facial tissue graft from the donor and will largely determine its shape and final appearance.”
Talking about the face transplant, Weins said: “To me the face feels natural. It feels as if it has become my own.”
Doctors were not able to restore Weins’ eyesight, and they said he was yet to recover full nerve and muscles functions but they are confident that he will improve.
It was in 2008 that Weins was left with severe disfigurement after he hit his head on a power line which destroyed his nose, lips and blinded him.
Plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac led the team who carried out the face transplant for 15 hours and he said: “He was quite literally a man without a face.”