U.S. veteran receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant

Apr 24, 2018, 10:38
U.S. veteran receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant

Director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins W.P. Andrew Lee says that he hopes that this procedure is able to restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions.

The anonymous veteran bravely opened up about his injury and the surgery in a statement, "It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept". "An unprecedented number of US service members sustained genitourinary injury while deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom", the researchers, led by Dr. Steven Hudak of the San Antonio Military Medical Center, wrote.

The reconstructive surgery is the country's first total penis and scrotum transplant in the world. They involve connecting arteries, veins, nerves, the skin, and the urethra to the recipient. The veteran also said that, thanks to the surgery he now feels more normal than before and that his confidence has returned thanks to the surgery.

The man, whose identity was not released, is still recovering and likely to regain both urinary and sexual function, Richard Redett, who led the transplant team, said Monday in a telephone news conference.

But penis transplants have generated intense interest among veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a few years ago Hopkins surgeons began planning and rehearsing how to perform such a complex operation in patients with widespread tissue damage. From 2001 to 2013, 1,367 men, almost all under the age of 35, returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan with genital injuries, according to the Department of Defense Trauma registry. "Confidence. like finally I'm OK now", he said.

The Hopkins patient received an extra experimental step, an infusion of bone marrow from his donor that research suggests may help a recipient's immune system better tolerate a transplant.

The family of the donor, who worked with New England Donor Services, wished the patient well.

We are so thankful to say that our loved one would be proud and honored to know he provided such a special gift to you. The donor's testicles were not transplanted to avoid ethical questions, The Guardian reported.

One of the challenges from this type of injury is that transplants typically require patients to take strong anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.

Two have been done in South Africa, the nation that achieved the first such successful surgery in 2015.

Doctors said they had no plans to use the procedure for gender reassignment surgeries at the moment.

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