Face Transplant Recipient Makes First Appearance

05/09/2011 at 07:30 PM EDT

Face Transplant Recipient Makes First Appearance
Dallas Wiens
Steven Senne/AP
America's first full face transplant recipient greeted the public Monday, just weeks after the 15-hour procedure that gave him a nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves.

"It feels natural," Dallas Wiens told reporters at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Being able to smell again is an amazing thing after two-and-a-half years of not being able to. It's interesting what you pick up on. The ability to breathe through my nose normally, and that in itself, was a major gift."

Wiens, 25 – who lost all of his features and eyesight in 2008 after hitting a power line while painting a church – underwent the transplant in March.

He says the first thing his daughter told him after the operation was, "Daddy, you're so handsome."

"The first thing I was able to smell was hospital lasagna," said Wiens, who is still blind. "And, you wouldn't imagine it, but it smelled delicious. But my favorite smell, hibiscus. The smell of plant life again, to know that I could smell a rose or anything like that again. It really hit home for me."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters