Doctors of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore have performed the first-ever full penis and scrotum transplant on a military veteran who was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
The hospital announced on Monday that it took 14 hours to complete the surgery on March 26 and it was performed by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons.
The penis, scrotum and partial abdominal wall were from a deceased donor. The doctors did not transplant the donor’s testicles to prevent genetic material to be passed on from the donor which the hospital believes is unethical, reports Time.
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“We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man,” said Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the hospital.
The transplant recipient who wished to remain anonymous said in a statement released by the hospital that he felt normal after the procedure.
“It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept. When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal… [with] a level of confidence as well. Confidence… like finally I’m okay now,” he said.
The transplant is estimated to cost $50,000 to $75,000 but Johns Hopkins is largely footing the bills since the procedures are still considered experimental and are not covered by insurance.
The doctors are reported to be in the process of applying for a research grant that would offer coverage for further procedures.
This is the second penis transplant in the United States and the fourth in the world. In May 2016, the first penis transplant in the U.S. was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital on a 64-year-old man.
The world’s first penis transplant was performed in 2014 in South Africa by doctors of the Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town.
The same team performed the world’s third surgery in 2017 on a 40-year-old recipient who was reported to have lost his penis 17 years ago due to complications after traditional circumcision.
His new organ had a colour discrepancy because he was a black man and the donor was white.
This is how the first full penis and scrotum transplant was done: