John Hopkins University Performs First Successful Total Penis Transplant

John Hopkins University Performs First Successful Total Penis Transplant

In a world first, doctors with Johns Hopkins performed a total penis and scrotum transplant on the veteran, who has chosen to remain anonymous.

A team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons performed the 14-hour surgery on March 26. The soldier, however, did not get the testicles from the donor, in order to prevent any ethical problems that may arise if he has children in the future, according to Damon Cooney, also on the transplant team.

"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept", the patient said in a statement released by the university. "When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal [with] a level of confidence, as well. Confidence ... like finally I'm okay now". Doctors expect that feeling will return to the transplanted organ in about six months, and at that point they will know more about the degree to which the man's sexual function has been restored.

The move is groundbreaking, and paves the way for the many other soldiers who have sustained genital injuries during combat. In 2016, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital performed the first penis transplant in the USA on a man who had his penis amputated due to penile cancer.

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

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. The surgery is estimated to have cost between $300,000 to $400,000, but in this case Hopkins paid for the bill and the surgical team worked for free, the Times said.

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Unlike previous penis transplants, this surgery included the scrotum and some tissue from the lower abdomen, in order to reconstruct a large wound.

The veteran is on a regimen of drugs created to minimize the risk of tissue rejection and is expected to leave the hospital this week.

Most organ transplants require the family to make a quick decision to donate after someone dies.

Penis transplants are not completely new.

In addition, service personnel often do not have enough viable tissue from other parts of their bodies to use because of other injuries, he said. The Department of Defense Trauma Registry has recorded 1,367 male service members who survived with genitourinary injuries between 2001 and 2013.

Lee told the newspaper, "We're hopeful we can restore sexual function in terms of spontaneous erection and orgasm".

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