A Team of 11 Surgeons Just Completed the First-Ever Penis Transplant on a War Vet
No man wants to catch a bullet between their legs, but one anonymous soldier lost his legs below the knees and his member in an IED attack in the Middle East. Luckily for him, he has now become the first recipient of a penis transplant for a war wound, courtesy of John Hopkins Hospital.
The operation took 11 surgeons 14 hours to complete and is expected to restore the patient's "urinary and sexual functions" after a period of about six months.
During the procedure, the surgeons had to connect three arteries, four veins, and two nerves, as well as graft a large piece of abdominal tissue onto the patient's body.
However, the patient's testicles were not able to be replaced, and the idea of a donor pair was rejected.
The transplanted penis came from an anonymous (presumably deceased) donor in New England. On top of the difficulty of finding a suitable donor, the process was made even more difficult due to the patient's rare blood type.
Penis transplants have been performed before, but those involved claim that the amount of tissue involved in this procedure was much larger since it included abdominal tissue as well as the scrotum.
Because penis transplants are not covered under veteran's benefits, a wounded veteran might expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the surgery, but because this was an experimental procedure that involved new techniques (including limiting the need for rejection drugs, which counter the body's immune response to foreign tissue), the staff at John Hopkins did the work for free.
It remains to be seen how the transplant fares and how much function is restored to the recipient over the next six months, but hopefully, the operation proves to be a success. Then, maybe, we can finally move on to the long-awaited head transplants.