Man Gets Penis and Scrotum Transplant in World First

Amazingly, doctors believe he'll regain both urinary and sexual function
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2018 6:00 PM CDT
Combat Vet Gets First Ever Penis And Scrotum Transplant
An US veteran underwent the world's first full penis and scrotum transplant   (Getty)

A US serviceman has become the world's first man to ever receive a full penis and scrotum transplant. Per USA Today, the veteran was injured by an IED years ago while on combat tour in Afghanistan. Surgeons from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced the historic news on Monday after performing the unprecedented surgery in Baltimore last month. The patient is expected to recover both urinary and sexual function, according to the surgeons. Surgeons said they rebuilt the man's entire pelvic region over the course of 14 hours. Per the AP, the scrotum transplant did not include the donor's testicles, meaning reproduction won't be possible. "We just felt there were too many unanswered ethical questions" with that extra step, said Hopkins' Dr. Damon Cooney.

Three other successful penis transplants have been reported, two in South Africa and one in 2016 at Massachusetts General Hospital. Those transplants involved only the penis, not extensive surrounding tissue that made this transplant much more complex. Hopkins is screening additional veterans to see if they are good candidates for this type of reconstructive transplant. The Hopkins patient received an extra experimental step, an infusion of bone marrow from his donor that research suggests may help a recipient's immune system better tolerate a transplant. Surgeons said that is enabling the veteran to take one anti-rejection drug instead of several. In a statement from Hopkins, the patient was quoted as saying: "When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal." (More penis transplant stories.)

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