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U.S. full face transplant patient makes appearance

BOSTON (AP) -- The nation's first full face transplant recipient said the first thing his young daughter told him when she saw him after the operation was ``Daddy, you're so handsome.''

Dallas Wiens, sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses, joined surgeons Monday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in his first public appearance since the 15-hour procedure in March.

This picture shows facial transplant patient Dallas Wiens, right, with his daughter Scarlette at the hospital in Boston. (AP)
This picture shows facial transplant patient Dallas Wiens, right, with his daughter Scarlette at the hospital in Boston. (AP)

``It feels natural,'' said the 25-year-old Texas, man, who received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an anonymous donor. The operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which hopes to use findings from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.

Wiens' features were all but burned away and he was left blind after hitting a power line while painting a church in November 2008.

On Monday, Wiens appeared before a packed room of reporters and photographers with a new, somewhat swollen face and a new head of hair.

``I adapted to it very quickly,'' Wiens told reporters. ``As time went on ... I was able to smell again and breathe through my nose. Every step of the way was amazing.''

The first thing Wiens' nose was able to detect after months of having no smell? Hospital lasagna.

``You wouldn't imagine it, but it smelled delicious,'' Wiens said.

Surgeons said the transplant was not able to restore his sight, and some nerves were so badly damaged from his injury that he will probably have only partial sensation on his left cheek and the left side of his forehead.

Plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac, who performed the operation on Wiens, said the transplant's results were better than he expected.

``The most fun part is to see the next six to nine months when the function will start to come back and when Dallas will start to feel a light touch on his face,'' Pomahac said. ``To me, that's really exciting.''

In an Associated Press story and a YouTube video last fall, Wiens spoke poignantly about why he wanted a transplant and how he wanted to smile again and feel kisses from his 4-year-old daughter, Scarlette. Face transplants give horribly disfigured people hope of an option other than ``looking in the mirror and hating what they see,'' he said.

He told the AP that his daughter and his faith have kept him motivated. He repeated that Monday. ``Even though I'm in amazing hands here,'' Wiens said, ``I'm also in God's hands.''

The surgery was paid for by the Department of Defense, which gave the hospital a $3.4 million research grant for five transplants.

About a dozen face transplants have been done worldwide, in the U.S., France, Spain and China.



<한글 기사>

안면전체 이식환자, “딸이 잘생겼대요”

 미국 최초로 안면 전체를 이식 받은 환자가 월요일 얼굴을 드러냈다. 댈러스 윈이라는 이름의 25세의 이 남자는 수술 이후 어린 딸의 첫 인사가 “아빠, 잘생겼어”였다고 밝혔다.

지난 2008년 11월 고압 전류에 감전돼 얼굴 전체가 사라지고 시력을 읽은 윈은 3월 보스턴 브링엄 여성병원에서 15시간 동안 수술 끝에 코, 입술, 피부, 근육, 신경을 이식 받았다. 기증자의 신원은 밝혀지지 않았다.

수술 비용은 미국 국방부가 부담했다. 군은 수술 결과를 심각한 안면 부상을 입은 군인들을 치료하는 데 이용할 계획이다.

수염을 기르고 선글라스를 쓴 모습으로 기자회견에서 나타난 그는 “느낌이 자연스럽다” 라고 밝혔다.

“빠르게 적응하고 있다. 시간이 지나면서 다시 냄새도 맡고 코로 숨도 쉴 쉬 있게 되었다. 이 모든 과정 하나하나가 놀라울 따름이다라고 말했다.

 미국, 프랑스, 스페인, 중국에서 12차례 정도의 안면 이식 수술이 이루어졌다. 세계 첫 안면 전체 이식 수술은 작년 스페인에서 성공했다. 부분 이식 수술은 2005년 프랑스에서 최초로 성공했고 미국에서는 2008년 첫 시술이 이뤄졌다.

 (Herald Online)