United States veteran receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant


A US veteran became the recipient of the world's first penis and scrotum transplant in March.

He undertook the surgery on March 26, with the John Hopkins University reconstructive surgery team - composed of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons - operating on him for 14 hours.

Surgeons at John Hopkins described lost penises as "an unspoken injury of war", suffered in silence by patients who face stigma as well as a loss of sexual intimacy and urinary function.

"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept", the patient said in a release.

The recipient, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he "felt finally more normal" on waking up from the operation.

The patient, whose name is being kept confidential, lost his genitals and both legs above the knee in the blast.

Doctors have previously succeeded at transplanting penises only, so adding the scrotum represented an additional advance for surgeons.

Only four penis transplants have ever been done successfully, including the one announced Monday, doctors said.

United States veteran receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant
United States veteran receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant

There had previously been successful penis transplants in 2014 in South Africa and 2016 in MA, "but they involved only the organ itself, not the scrotum or surrounding flesh", the Times notes. A man who lost his penis to cancer became the first United States penis transplant recipient in 2016. The wounded man, who requested anonymity, has recovered from the surgery and is expected to be discharged from the hospital this week.

Surgeons at Baltimore's John Hopkins University have rebuilt the veteran's entire pelvic region from the parts of a deceased donor.

A penis, scrotum, and part of an abdominal wall were taken from a deceased donor and transplanted onto the patient.

"We are all very proud that our loved one was able to help a young man that served this country", they said in a letter released by the donor group. But the experimental nature of the procedure and the difficulty in finding a donor match - the Johns Hopkins patient waited a year - mean it won't be widely available any time soon.

Redett said he expects the soldier will regain the ability to urinate by the time he leaves the hospital this week.

Patients can also lose a penis through cancer or other accidents.

Doctors said they had no plans to use the procedure for gender reassignment surgeries at the moment. "Like, that's it, you're done, you're by yourself for the rest of your life".

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