Published: Tue, April 24, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

U.S. veteran receives world's first total penis, scrotum transplant

U.S. veteran receives world's first total penis, scrotum transplant

"When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal like finally I'm OK now", the anonymous sergeant said in a statement, The BBC reported.

The man, who has not been identified, was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan several years ago.

For the transplant, the donor's testes were first removed because of what the doctors said were complicated ethical issues, in particular the potential ability to father children with another man's genetic material.

They said the patient had the highly experimental transplant last month in a 14-hour operation and said he was recovering well, and expected to leave the hospital later this week.

"We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man", said Johns Hopkins' W.P. Andrew Lee, a statement.

As with any transplant surgery, tissue rejection is a concern for doctors, so the patient has been put on a series of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent that possible development, according to Johns Hopkins officials. The United States performed its first successful penis transplant in 2016. However, it will take longer for the new nerves to regrow to allow the patient to have sensation in his transplanted penis. The veteran in this case waited more than a year for a viable donor.

About 1,367 male military members suffered genitourinary injuries from 2001 to 2013, according to data from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry cited by the Baltimore Sun.

Hopkins is screening additional veterans to see if they are good candidates for this type of reconstructive transplant. The testicles would have contained the sperm from the recently deceased donor.

The extent of his sexual function will not be known for about six months, doctors said.

The patient said he went through tough times emotionally after the injury, and kept the loss of his genitalia a secret from all but a few.

The team that performed this surgery is the same team that performed the country's first bilateral arm transplant in a wounded warrior.

In an interview the following week, Manning told The Associated Press he never hesitated about going public with his ordeal. "You've got to get on with your life", he said. "What's the big deal?"

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