In a first for the US, a soldier wounded in an explosion will receive a penis transplant, paving the way for dozens of injured servicemen to have the procedure.
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital said a donated organ from a recently deceased man could provide full function including urination, sensation and sex.
The surgery requires joining nerves and blood vessels under a microscope, Reuters reports.
Genital injury is emotionally traumatic because it affects one’s sense of identity and manhood, especially for men hoping to become fathers, the report said, citing doctors and advocates who work with wounded soldiers.
“When you meet these guys and you realize what they’ve given for the country, it makes a lot of sense,” Dr. Richard Redett, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital who will help perform the procedure.
The recipient, who was not identified, lost most of his penis and had substantial groin injuries in a bomb explosion while deployed overseas.
Media reports have said he was wounded in Afghanistan.
The surgery could occur in the coming weeks.
Doctors are looking for a donor who is a good match in terms of age and skin color.
The donor’s family will need to give permission for the penis to be removed.
There have been two penis transplants in the world.
The first in China in 2006 was unsuccessful. The second in South Africa in 2014 was a success.
Thor Wold, who served as a Marine medic in the Iraq war and now works as an advocate for veterans, said that after suffering genital injuries, servicemen immediately wanted to know if they would still have sexual function.
“They would ask, ‘Is everything OK down there, doc? My wife’s at home and we’re trying to have a baby when I get back,’” Wold said.
Redett said a veteran suffering from a blast injury could need to have not just his penis replaced but also the scrotum, part of the abdominal wall, groin tissue and part of the inner thigh.
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