Doctors from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, succeeded first full transplant in US. A team of 30 doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses, led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac performed the complete face transplant which was a premiere in the United States.
The surgery lasted more than 15 hours, and it was a success. The patient was a Texas construction worker, named Dallas Wiens, who was totally disfigured in a power line accident in November 2008. The burns were so serious that literally erased his facial features.
Beside his lips, nose, eyebrows and eyelids he also lost his sight. The doctors managed to make a reconstruction and replace his facial skin, muscles of facial animation and also the nerves that power them and provide sensation. But they couldn’t restore his sight and it is not known yet if Wiens will be able to see again in the future.
For now, he is on his way to recovery and he even talked on the phone to his family. “He is doing great. He has been on the cellphone with his family and talking,” said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the one who led the transplant team.
His donor was a recently dead person, which name and details remained unknown, respecting his family decision and also the patient confidentiality. “Today’s tremendous news marks a new milestone in Brigham and Women’s legacy in transplant surgery.
The pioneering achievement by the entire transplant team is a gift made possible by the most selfless act one human being can do for another, organ donation.” said hospital president Betsy Nable in a news conference that followed after the transplant. According to the doctors, Wiens new look will not resemble with the donor’s face or with his, it will actually be something between these two.
The donor was chosen by certain criteria like sex, age and blood type.
The patient has a 3 years old daughter and his biggest motivation for the surgery was to feel her kisses and smile to her again. According to his family, Dallas Wiens wants to become an advocate for facial donations after he will be recovered.
Also they were grateful to the donor family: “You will forever remain in our hearts and our prayers and we are grateful for your selflessness.”
This was the third face transplant in the U.S., but the first two were only partial. First face transplant in the world was performed in 2005, in France and it was also a partial.