Boston — A Texas man left blind and badly disfigured in a 2008 power line accident has received the nation’s first full face transplant, the Associated Press reports.
In a 15-hour operation, more than 30 doctors, nurses and other staff at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital transplanted an entire new face — including nose, lips, skin, muscles and nerves — onto 25-year-old Fort Worth construction worker Dallas Wiens.
A hospital spokesman disclosed neither the donor’s identity nor the exact date of the surgery. Surgical team leader Bohdan Pomahac, M.D., said the surgery could not restore the patient’s sight, and he is expected to regain only partial feeling in his left cheek and left forehead.
The Defense Department, which has given Brigham and Women’s a $3.4 million grant for transplant research, paid for the surgery. According to the AP, the new federal healthcare law helped make the operation possible by allowing the patient — who had no health insurance at the time of the accident — to receive coverage for the costly anti-rejection drugs he will have to take for the rest of his life.