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Full face transplant patient makes 1st appearance--video extra

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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.

"It feels natural," said the 25-year-old Fort Worth, 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.


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