Face Transplant Recipient Celebrates One Year

Dallas Wiens speaks with doctors in Boston

By Justin Hinton
|  Monday, Apr 2, 2012  |  Updated 6:11 PM CDT
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One year after receiving the nation's first full-face transplant, Dallas Wiens talks about his transformation and recovery.

Justin Hinton and Meredith Land, NBC 5 News

One year after receiving the nation's first full-face transplant, Dallas Wiens talks about his transformation and recovery.

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Face Transplant Recipient Smiles Again

After becoming the first full face transplant recipient in the United States, Dallas Wiens can smile again.

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The nation's first full-face transplant recipient is doing well and says he "feels fantastic."
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The Fort Worth man who burned his face after his head touched a high voltage power line is celebrating one year with his new face.

Dallas Wiens joined his doctors in Boston to speak about his transformation over the past year.

"It's amazing to regain a life that you weren't sure for quite a while that you were ever going to have again," Wiens said.

After the incident, doctors at Parkland Hospital rushed to Wiens' aid and were worried that they would not be able to save his life.

Doctors found success, and Dr. Jeffrey Janis believed Wiens could be a possible candidate for a full face transplant. He contacted his colleagues in Boston in hopes they could provide more answers.

"Anyone who knows Dallas and his story knows that he's a man that defies all odds," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, one of Wiens' doctors in Boston. "By all accounts, Dallas should not have survived the devastating injury that took his face, but he did."

After a successful transplant, Wiens became the nation's first full face transplant recipient. He remains blind, but he has regained his sense of smell as well as sensation in his face.

"I am -- as was one of my desires -- able to feel my daughter's kisses now, which brought me to tears on more than one occasion," Wiens said.

Now, he wants to receive dental implants so that he can communicate more easily.

His biggest message, however, was directed towards his donor's family.

"I want to express my sincerest heartfelt gratitude to what I know must have been a very difficult decision for you to donate one's loved one's face to another person, but I can say that that donation has changed my life for the better and my life will never be the same," Wiens said.

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