WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant was performed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland on March 26.
- An unidentified U.S. soldier, who was seriously injured several years ago in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan, was the first recipient of the said transplant.
- Dr. Richard Redett, head of the transplant team, said that the soldier is on his way to recovery and should be able to regain both urinary and sexual function.
A team of 11 surgeons has successfully performed the world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant in late March in a Maryland hospital. The operation was performed on a US soldier who was severely wounded by an IED blast in Afghanistan.
The U.S. serviceman did not receive testicles from his donor due to ethical considerations that may arise if he later decided to have children, said Damon Cooney, member of the transplant team. The testicles would have contained sperm from the donor who recently died.
Both the recipient and the donor were not identified nor was the cause of the donor’s death. The donor’s family commended the sergeant’s service to the US and mentioned that the donor family includes a number of servicemen.
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital had a more limited transplant on a penile cancer patient two years ago. Thomas Manning, the cancer patient, has recovered well, but he hasn’t regained his sexual function, according to Curtis Cetrulo, head of the reconstructive transplantation program at Massachusetts General.
The transplant at Johns Hopkins lasted for 14 hours and was considered the most extensive yet, the doctors said. There have been reports of several successful penile transplants in South Africa and an unsuccessful one in China.
“We believe that genital-urinary transplantation can help those warriors with missing genitalia, just as hand and arm transplants transformed the lives of amputees,” said W. P. Andrew Lee, who directs the hospital’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He also mentioned that the hospital covered the cost of the transplant.
“Injuries that affect sexual and urinary function can be devastating to a person’s identity, self-esteem, and intimate relationships,” Lee added.
The US military veteran was given an infusion of bone marrow from the same donor to reduce the risk of rejection that usually accompanies a transplantation. This infusion should help his immune system accept the new tissue. It will also limit the amount of medication the patient will have to take in the future, said Gerald Brandacher, who handled the immune aspects of the Johns Hopkins transplant.
Source: USA Today