On the 23rd of April, 2018 a team of 11 doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, performed a 14 hours long surgery to achieve the world’s first successful penis and scrotum Transplant. The surgery was performed on a young veteran wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He had lost the use of most of his lower body in the explosion, as well as his genitalia.
A team of 11 doctors consisting of 9 plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons performed the surgery on the patient and transplanted an entire penis, a scrotum without testicles and a partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor. This monumental task was not easy and was performed with permission from the donor’s family. The entire procedure cost around $300,000 to 400,000. The doctors at Johns Hopkins are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for the young man.
Indeed, if this surgery is successful then it could open up new doors in the field of plastic surgery and organ transplant. In December 2017, surgeons at Johns Hopkins had performed the first U.S. double-arm transplant of two arms on a wounded service member. The method by which this was done is called allotransplantation.
It is a transplant method in which a body part or tissue is transferred from one individual to another. The procedure is formally known as vascularized composite allotransplantation. The surgery involves transplanting skin, muscles and tendons, nerves, bone and blood vessels. The same method was used for the penis and scrotum transplant. It is a highly extensive process and leaves little room for error.
WP Andrew Lee, the director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins is highly optimistic about the results of the surgery. He is certain that the transplanted penis will be fully functional, enabling the patient to lead a normal life. The patient, who has decided to remain anonymous, has shown the same enthusiasm upon gaining consciousness after the surgery. He has stated in his press release that he has renewed confidence and finally feels restored to normalcy.
According to a study in the Journal of Urology, a record number of US service members received genital injuries while they were deployed in the Iraq War. Therefore this new achievement the field of medicine and surgery could prove to be extremely beneficial for a large number of people.