Doctors in the United States have performed the world’s first penis and scrotum transplant, performing the surgery on a US military sergeant severely injured several years ago in an IED blast in Afghanistan.
They used a penis, scrotum and partial abdominal wall transplanted from a deceased donor. The team of 11 surgeons performed the transplant over 14 hours at Johns Hopkins hospital.
The man, whose name was not given, is recovering well and expected to regain both urinary and sexual function, said Dr Richard Redett, who led the transplant team.
It is not the world’s first penis transplant – that was carried out in 2014 in South Africa but it is the first transplant where both the penis and scrotum has been transplanted.
In addition to a large skin graft covering part of the sergeant’s abdomen, penis and scrotum, surgeons connected three arteries, four veins and two nerves to provide blood flow and sensation to the donated tissue. His internal organs were not damaged by the blast.
He did not receive testicles from his donor to avoid the ethical issues that might ensue if he later had children, said Damon Cooney, another transplant team member. The testicles would have contained sperm from the recently deceased donor.
It will take about six months for the nerves to regrow enough to restore sexual function and sensation, but Dr Redett said he is optimistic that this will occur.
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