A patient has successfully received a penis and scrotum transplant. This major global first was performed on an American soldier who had suffered a devastating injury in Afghanistan several years ago.
Having taken place on the 26th of March last, the first penis and scrotum transplant in the world required an operation lasting 14 hours, involving two urological surgeons and nine cosmetic surgeons. Although doctors had previously performed penis transplants, this new operation represents a significant leap forward, according to the team of surgeons led by W.P. Andrew Lee, the director of the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery in John Hopkins University in Baltimore (United States).
The American soldier who received the transplant, who remains anonymous, was seriously injured a few years ago by a bomb explosion in Afghanistan. However, doctors are confident in his ability to almost fully recover his urinary and sexual function after a period of convalescence. One month after the operation, the man reported feeling “more normal”. He can walk and will soon be released from hospital.
In order to perform the transplant, the penis and scrotum (without the testicles) as well as a part of the abdominal wall was taken from a deceased donor. The reason that the donor’s testicles could not be used relates to ethics. In fact, the doctors explained that the patient’s hypothetical ability to have children would be as a result of the transmission of genetic material from the donor, which they naturally deemed unacceptable.
For the moment, the doctors are certain that in the absence of testicles, the patient will not be able to ejaculate. However, they believe that he will be able to urinate in the next few weeks. They will not have information on his sexual functioning for another few months.