The recipient of America’s first facial transplant has made his debut public appearance, saying he soon will go home to Texas to be with his young daughter and might attend college.
Dallas Wiens, 26, had most of his facial features burned off by contact with a high-voltage wire in 2008 and underwent a 15-hour procedure two months ago to replace his face.
Since the transplant, Wiens said, the most rewarding moment came when he was reunited with his preschool daughter.
“She was amazed. She actually said, ‘Daddy, you’re so handsome,'” Wiens said at a news conference at Brigham and Women’s, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, where a team of more than 30 medical experts replaced his nose, lips, skin, muscles of facial animation and nerves in March.
“To me the face feels natural. It feels as if it has become my own,” said Wiens, of Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to the transplant, he could not smell, had trouble breathing and underwent more than 20 surgeries in Dallas.
When the transplant brought back his sense of smell, Wiens said the first scent he encountered was hospital lasagna. It smelled delicious, he said.
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