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World’s First Penis and Scrotum Transplant Takes Place in the United States

Jun 04, 2018

World’s First Penis and Scrotum Transplant Takes Place in the United StatesA U.S. military veteran has received the world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant.

The 14-hour operation was performed by a team of 11 surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore at the end of March.  

“We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man," said surgeon W.P. Andrew Lee, professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine in a statement.

The recipient, who asked to remain anonymous, was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. In addition to his genitals, he lost both legs.

The first successful penis transplant took place in South Africa in 2014. What makes the Johns Hopkins transplant different is the extensive amount of tissue involved.

Surgeons harvested a penis, scrotum, and part of an abdominal wall from a deceased donor. They then attached the tissue by connecting a complex network of veins, arteries, and nerves. The urethra – the tube that allows urine and semen to leave the body – was also attached.

The surgeons expect the veteran’s urinary and sexual function to be restored in several months, but they are not yet sure how much function will be recovered.

The recipient will not be able to father biological children. While the donor’s scrotum was transplanted, his testicles were not. This was an ethical decision on the surgeons’ part, as sperm created from donor testicles would carry the donor’s DNA, not the recipient’s.

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