John Hopkins University School of Medicine announced today that a USA military sergeant who was severely injured in an Afghanistan bombing several years ago has received the world's first total penis and scrotum transplant. The transplant from a deceased donor included the entire penis, scrotum (without testicles) and partial abdominal wall.
His doctors at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, where the surgery took place on March 26, believe that he should eventually be able to regain sexual function.
"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept", he said in a statement. "When I first woke up [after the transplant], I felt finally more normal". It is the world's most complex and extensive penis transplant yet, and the first performed on a combat veteran maimed by a blast.
"The testicles were not transplanted because we had made a decision early in the program to not transplant germline tissue, that is to say not transplant tissue that generates sperm because this would raise a number of ethical questions", said JHU plastic surgeon Damon Cooney.
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The soldier lost both legs above the knee, his penis and the area around it when the IED - improvised explosive device - blasted him.
The procedure was the result of years of research, studies and cadaver work, giving doctors hope that if it proves successful, it could be used for injured veterans and other men with severe injuries to their genital regions.
Doctors have previously succeeded at transplanting penises only, so adding the scrotum represented an additional advance for surgeons. Redett also said that it will take about six months for sexual sensation and function to be regained.
The US department of defence trauma registry has recorded 1,367 male service personnel with having suffered genitourinary injuries between 2001 and 2013, although it is not clear whether how many of those lost all or part of the penis.
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This diagram shows some of the complexity involved with the transplant operation. To reduce the risk that his body would reject his new penis and scrotum, the patient received a bone marrow transplant from the organ donor.
In an interview the following week, Manning told The Associated Press he never hesitated about going public with his ordeal. "Like, that's it, you're done, you're by yourself for the rest of your life".
Thoughts of suicide crossed his mind, he said, but "when I would actually think about killing myself, I would think, 'Am I really just gonna kill myself over a penis?'"
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