Physicians at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore have performed the first total penis and scrotum transplant in the world, the hospital announced on Monday.
The surgery, which took place over 14 hours on March 26, was performed by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons. The penis and scrotum (without testicles) and partial abdominal wall came from a deceased donor. The recipient is a military veteran who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Afghanistan and wishes to remain anonymous. The hospital said he has recovered from the surgery and will be discharged from the hospital this week.
The procedure is the second penis transplant to be publicly reported in the United States, but the first full transplant of this kind. In 2016, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital performed the first penis transplant in the U.S. on a man who had his penis amputated due to penile cancer.
The Johns Hopkins team has been planning for penis transplant procedures for years, with the goal of eventually helping wounded veterans. A 2016 report found that from 2001 to 2013, 1,367 men in the United States military suffered injuries to their genitals or urinary tract in Iraq or Afghanistan. The report also found that most of the injuries were caused by bomb blasts, and over a third were considered severe. Among the injured men, 94% were age 35 or younger. “Many men sustained disfiguring genital injuries during their peak years of sexual development and reproductive potential,” researchers wrote in the 2016 report.