FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A smile; a raised eyebrow; a wrinkled nose: They’re easy facial movements for most. They’re also the goal of Dallas Wiens.
“I’m only the second full-face transplant ever to be done in the world and the first in this country,” the 24-year-old said.
Wiens’ face was literally burned off three years ago when the construction boom he was operating hit a power line. Using a donated face, doctors rebuilt Wiens.
“I can feel light touch here and then of course up here,” Wiens said. “And then up here moving down. It’s really nice feeling that I’ve regained a lot of the movement in my lower jaw. And I’m working on curling my lips and wrinkle my nose. I’m not quite there yet.”
Just those simple movements and sensations are far beyond what Wiens could have hoped for.
“I knew it was going to be highly beneficial to have the transplant,” Wiens said. “Aesthetically and functionality and for sensation. But I can honestly say my expectations have been far exceeded.”
One of his biggest inspirations is his four-year-old daughter. Wiens prayed he’d be able to feel her kisses again.
“To her, daddy just had a boo-boo,” Wiens said. “But I was still daddy. It’s always been that way, which has been a blessing to me. But after the transplant, she realizes daddy doesn’t see with his eyes. Daddy sees with his hands and with his heart. But her response to how I look is that I’m, as she says, I’m so handsome. It’s been great.”
“Just to spread hope and the understanding that there is more to life than one, how you look, but two, that there’s always hope. No matter how bad things seem there’s always some hope out there for you,” Wiens said.