U.S. Conducts First Full Facial Transplant

Sandra Appiah May 13, 2011

By: Azuka Onye

photo credit: Associated Press and Reuters

The Associated Press has reported that the United States’ first full facial transplant recipient was released on Monday, May 9, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.

Dallas Wien suffered a severe injury from an electrical accident, which left him without his facial organs. Surgeons worked feverishly to transplant the nose, skin, lips, and other facial muscles from a donor to Wien. The operation took 15 hours and required 30 specialists. In addition to having a new face, Wien can now smell and feel some sensation on his cheeks, which is an immense improvement.

Transplants are complex and tricky. Doctors must ensure that tissues from both the donor and recipient match, as a transplant rejection could put the patient’s life in jeopardy. Wien’s successful facial transplant provides hope for victims of severe accidents such as Charla Nash, a woman from Connecticut who was mauled by a chimpanzee. She currently awaits her own facial transplant.

According to the AP, the funding for Wien’s operation was provided by the United States military in hopes that findings from the operation will help military war victims with severe facial scarring.


Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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