A team of cosmetic surgeons from John Hopkins hospital says that it has successfully repaired the male genitals of a US military service member. The US soldier sustained significant injuries on his genitals while serving in operations Enduring Freedom in the Middle East. The surgery was one of a kind as it marked the first penis transplant that has been done by medical practitioners to wound sustained in combat. Physicians from the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland said that a team of over ten surgeons participated in the planing and execution of the surgery. The surgery took 14 hours to be completed in March this year. The patient is expected to be discharged from hospital this week.
The doctors are confident that the patient, who sought to remain anonymous, will regain both his sexual and urinary functions after he has fully recovered. The news about the success of the surgery was released on Monday by Dr W.P. Andrew at a news conference. However, the fertility of the patient will not be restored. His testicles were also severely injured by grenade shrapnel and did not survive. Deep ethical issues would arise if the doctors did a transplant of his testicles. This is because the sperm’s DNA would have different information and coding to that of the patient.
Surgeons from Boston and South Africa have previously given reports of succeeding in penis transplants. Physicians from John Hopkins however, state that their transplant was different because it involved a more significant piece of tissue. The surgery required the plastic reconnection of two nerves, four veins and three arteries. The medical practitioners have said that the transplanted organ will regain feeling in the next 180 days.
After the six months, the doctors said that the extent to which the sexual functions of the patient have been restored would be determined through a careful and thorough analysis. The John Hopkins hospital made an announcement back in 2015 that it was making preparations to conduct this kind of cosmetic surgery to help war heroes who had sustained wounds from battle frontlines. However, the doctors said that it took a longer time than expected for them to find the right organ for the patient. The extended time was as a result of a rare blood type of the patient. The team of surgeons said that the organ donor was a man from New England who also sought to remain anonymous.