In what is a medical first, surgeons at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have successfully performed the most extensive penile transplant to date.
The surgery was performed on a military veteran who suffered severe injuries during his service.
Although the operation was performed on a cisgender man, it raises hope that the surgery may be available to transgender men in the future.
The patient, who is remaining anonymous, lost his genitals and both legs above the knee in the blast.
— Hopkins Med News (@HopkinsMedNews) April 23, 2018
In a 14-hour operation last month, doctors transplanted “a penis, scrotum and portion of the abdominal wall, taken from a deceased organ donor,” The New York Times reports.
John Hopkins is covering the cost of the surgery which is estimated to cost between $300,000 to $400,000. 11 surgeons were involved in the surgery all of which worked for free, the Times reports.
The doctors are confident that the man will regain unitary and sexual functions, including the ability to have an erection spontaneously and achieve orgasm as nerves will regrow in the transplanted tissue.
He will not be able to father children as testes have not been transplanted due to ethical concerns about having children. “We just felt there were too many unanswered ethical questions,” surgeon Damon Cooney said.
Although this procedure is still classified by medical professionals as experimental, there are high hopes for what this procedure could offer to trans men in the future.
Currently, transgender men who decide to undergo a phalloplasty have a penis constructed from their skin and need implants to achieve an erection.
This procedure is also generally used for patients born with genital anomalies notes an Associated Press report.
The first ever penis transplant was performed on a 21 year-old man in South Africa in 2014. The hospital said the patient regained all urinary, reproductive and sexual functions with his penis transplant.
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