Boston Hospital Performs US' 1st Full Face Transplant

25-year-old construction worker gets new face
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2011 4:30 PM CDT
Boston Hospital Performs US' 1st Full Face Transplant
Plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, far right, refers to a graphic during a news conference in Boston Monday, March 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A Boston hospital has performed the nation's first full face transplant, the AP reports. Dallas Weins, a Texas construction worker badly disfigured and blinded in a 2008 power line accident, underwent a 15-hour operation in which parts of a deceased donor's face were transplanted onto his skull. Weins will not regain his sight, and will not resemble "either what he used to be or the donor," the lead plastic surgeon said.

But Weins and his family are immensely grateful for his new lease on life. "He is determined to get well, and to move on with his life, to do something with his life," said his grandfather Del Peterson. Interestingly, the surgery was paid for by the Defense Department, which gave the hospital a $3.4 million grant, presumably in hopes of eventually using the procedure on injured veterans. Among those awaiting face transplants is the 2009 victim of a chimp mauling, who recounts her story to Oprah here. (More face transplant stories.)

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