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First full face transplant in U.S.

Monday, March 21, 2011 - 02:00

Mar 22 - A team of surgeons at a Boston hospital performs the first full face transplant surgery in the United States. Travis Brecher reports.

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Dallas Wiens arrived last week at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He was checking in for a full face transplant surgery -- the first of its kind in the United States. Dallas was badly injured in 2008 after his head came in contact with an electrical line while he was working atop a lift. Doctors were able to save his life, but most of his facial features were lost and he was left blind. But last week, more than 30 physicians, nurses, and anesthesiologists worked for more than 15 hours to replace his nose, lips, facial skin, muscles of facial animation and nerves. Plastic surgeon Doctor Bohdan Pomahac, who led the medical team, says their only setback was not being able to restore his vision. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOCTOR DOHDAN POMAHAC, PLASTIC SURGEON AND SURGICAL TEAM LEADER, SAYING: Dallas is doing great. He's meeting all the milestones that he's expected to at the present time. Unfortunately, we do not know how to transplant, at the current age, eyes. So, we were not able to restore his vision." He said Wiens will neither look like his old self nor his deceased donor. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOCTOR DOHDAN POMAHAC, PLASTIC SURGEON AND SURGICAL TEAM LEADER, SAYING: "Probably somewhere in the middle. He will not look like himself, but he will also not look like the donor. There is a component of soft tissues, and also the bone that is Dallas' own. So, the tissues are really molded on a new person, and in this case, the way Dallas will look will not resemble either what he used to be or the donor." The first partial face transplant surgery conducted in the United States was performed at the Cleveland Clinic in December 2008. The world's first successful partial face transplant was performed in France in 2005, and the first full face transplant was done in Spain in 2010. Travis Brecher, Reuters

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First full face transplant in U.S.

Monday, March 21, 2011 - 02:00