First Full Face Transplant in U.S. Performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital
Caroline Lorraine

Mar 21, 2011, 15:59

The first full face transplant in the U.S. was performed last week at a Boston hospital, according to the Associated Press. Dallas Wiens, a 25-year-old former construction worker who was badly disfigured in an electrical accident in November 2008, was the recipient of the face transplant. Wiens lost his sight along with his nose, lips and eyebrows after the accident.

During the 15-hour surgery at Brigham and Women�s Hospital in Boston, a team of over 30 doctors, nurses and hospital staff led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac gave Wiens a new nose, lips, skin, muscles and nerves. The donor has not been publicly identified.

Wiens was only able to undergo this operation because of the new federal healthcare law. Wiens did not have health insurance when he was injured in 2008, and his disability payments eventually made him ineligible for Medicaid, which had helped cover over 20 surgeries. The new healthcare law allowed 25-year-old Wiens to qualify for his father�s health insurance, which will help him pay for the drugs he will need to prevent his body from rejecting the transplant. Once he turns 26, he will be eligible for Medicare, which will then help him cover the costs of his medication.

Brigham and Women�s Hospital performed a partial face transplant in April 2009, for a man who suffered an accident that left him with extensive facial injuries.

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