Veteran receives world's first total penis and scrotum transplant at Johns Hopkins

Nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons were involved transplanting an entire penis scrotum without testicles and part of the abdomen

Nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons were involved transplanting an entire penis scrotum without testicles and part of the abdomen

The 14-hour operation was performed by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. using an entire penis, scrotum without testicles and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital transplanted a penis without a scrotum in 2016.

The man lost his testicles in the explosion and did not get them restored as part of his transplant.

They attached the urethra, arteries, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and more to the patient.

But thanks to a donor and a team of transplant specialists who have been rehearsing for five years, the patient should recover near complete function of his penis, the doctors said.

Hopkins announced in 2015 that it was planning to undertake this operation for war wounded. Hopkins is now screening additional veterans to see if any are good candidates for this type of reconstructive transplant. However, his family did release a statement praising the sergeant's service to his country and noting the donor family includes a number of veterans. But, as with any transplant surgery, there is concern for tissue rejection, and so the patient is put on a regimen of immunosuppressive drugs to help prevent this. Those drugs pose a risk, which must be balanced against the benefit of surgery that is created to improve quality of life but is not essential to health.

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Those transplants involved only the penis, not extensive surrounding tissue that made this transplant much more complex. The patient was injured by an improvised explosive device. "Confidence... like, finally, I'm okay now", he added.

The soldier received the injury after stepping on a hidden bomb in Afghanistan.

Dr. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a former Army psychiatrist and author of a book about intimacy and injury, told the Sun that one of the first questions soldiers ask after a severe injury is whether their genitals were unharmed. It is really no joke to lose an important element of one's manhood. He lost both legs above the knee, but the genital injury was even more devastating.

The surgery is still highly experimental.

But for years, a group of doctors at Johns Hopkins has been working to provide the life-changing transplant to young military veterans returning from war with devastating injuries.

Olguin says he hopes that the surgery will eventually become routine enough that the government will pay for it as part of its commitment to injured vets.