US war veterans to get penis transplant

A team of Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) are set to carry out the first penis transplant in the US, in a bid to help 60 wounded war veterans. This would follow the world’s first successful penis transplant, in South Africa, back in 2014.

 Unlike the nine hour surgery performed at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in South Africa, the US plans a 12-hour operation will involve stitching key nerves and blood vessels to restore urinary – and ultimately – sexual function. According to BBC, the first procedure will involve a penis donated by a young deceased donor, with his family’s permission. 

The surgeons revealed that that sensation is expected to return within six to 12 months, depending on the extent of the injury and success of the operation. The team added that there is a chance that patients will be able to father their own children with their new penises. 

Like other major transplant surgery the operation carries risks, such as infections or bleeding during the procedure and the side-effects of taking life-long anti-rejection drugs. Patients will also be screened extensively to make sure they can cope with the psychological impacts of surgery, like finding it difficult to accept the donated organs as their own. Carisa Cooney, clinical research manager at JHU, said the team had spent many years preparing for the operations and discussing the ethical issues. 

“For the right patients this can really improve their quality of life and help them re-enter society,” she said. Only two of such operations have been reported, with the first in China, where the organ was eventually rejected, and the second in South Africa, largely successful. 

According to the surgeons, the South African patient who had a 1cm penis after failed circumcision, got a new organ and has been able to  father a child with the new organ.
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