America's 'amazing' first face transplant

Dallas Wiens, whose face was burned off by a power line, shows off his new features for the first time

Dallas Wiens, who had a full face transplant, sits with his 4-year-old daughter Scarlette as she admires the new face that required 15 hours of surgery.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Courtesy of Lightchaser Photography)

The photo: In March, Dallas Wiens, 26, became the first person to receive a full face transplant in the U.S., and on Monday he made his first public appearance since the 15-hour operation. The before and after pictures offer shocking bookends to the Texas man's struggle to recover from his devastating wounds, which he suffered when his head touched a high-voltage power line while he was painting a church. (See the photos below.) Wiens, with fourth-degree burns across his face, lost his eyes, nose, and teeth. Doctors covered the missing features with a blank curtain of skin from his back. "He was quite literally a man without a face," says Dr. Bohdan Pomahac of the Burn Center at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Wiens, who remains blind, felt his new features upon awakening from surgery and remarked, "This should not be medically possible." The best change, he said, came when he felt his 4-year-old daughter Scarlette's kiss for the first time since the accident. "She actually said, 'Daddy, you're so handsome,'" Weins said. "To her, I'm still daddy. That in itself is an amazing gift."

The reaction: "The pictures of Wiens before the surgery are hard to look at," says Osha Gray Davidson at Forbes, "so it's nothing short of amazing to see him with a new face" — complete with goatee and a full shock of dark hair. And thanks to his new nose, he can actually smell again, as he learned when he woke up and caught what he called the "surprisingly delicious" scent of hospital lasagna. The 30 doctors and nurses who gave Wiens his new face did a fantastic job, says Brian Moylan at Gawker. "He looks pretty damn good!" Take a look at the before and after pictures:

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