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US Doctors Perform Full-Face Transplant

Del Peterson, grandfather of face transplant recipient Dallas Wiens, turns and gives thumbs up to the surgical team during a news conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, March 21, 2011

Doctors at a hospital in the eastern city of Boston have performed the first full-face transplant in the United States on a man who lost most of his face in a crippling electrical accident.

In a 15-hour surgery performed last week, patient Dallas Wiens, 25, of Fort Worth, Texas, was given a a new nose, lips, facial skin and muscles and the nerves that animate the face and provide sensation.

Wiens was injured in November 2008 when his head touched a high-voltage electrical wire. The burns erased all of his facial features.

Doctor Bohdan Pomahac who led the surgical team said Wiens should regain sensation in most of his face. The plastic surgeon said Wiens' new face won't resemble "what he used to look like", nor will he look like the donor. The donor's identity was not revealed.

The doctors were not able to restore Wiens' vision, which he also lost in the accident.

The first full-face transplant was performed in Spain in March 2010.