The first total penis and scrotum transplant ever carried out in the history of man came to a success at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on March 26, 2018.
The operation performed on the military serviceman who was wounded in Afghanistan lasted 14 hours- involving nine plastic surgeons, two urological surgeons and a team of anesthesiologists, nurses and surgical technicians.
The recipient of the penis and scrotum transplant who chose to remain anonymous is a young United States serviceman who, while serving in Afghanistan, sustained injuries in his lower abdominal walls, and lower pelvis by a blast from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Dr. W.P Andrew Lee, chairman of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and one of the surgeons involved in the transplant said:
“While war injuries cause great suffering, disfigurement, and disability, they have also provided the impetus for medical discoveries.”
But it was an intricate operation there- was little scarcity of donated organs and tissue and it was not very easy to get a matching donor so that the system of the recipient would not reject the would-be successful transplant.
So with the aim of performing this successful transplant, the team of doctors had to find the necessary tissues, which consist of a penis, scrotum, and part of the lower wall. This was found from a deceased donor.
Commenting on the transplant, Dr. Rick Redett, one of the surgeons involved in the operation said:
“To perform the transplant, we procured the necessary tissue from the donor to restore normal anatomy in the recipient.”
During the operation, there was a connection of four veins, three arteries and two nerves under a powerful microscope. This was done so as to give an adequate flow of blood and sensation to the transplanted tissue encompassed.
The operation, at long last, came to a success. Dr. Lee said:
“Our patient is recovering from the transplant well. He is up walking, and the graft shows no signs of infection or rejection. It is our hope that such a life-enhancing transplant will allow him to regain urinary and sexual function and lead a more normal life.”
While he regains his full sexual and urinary function in the forthcoming months, he is expected to leave the hospital this week.
Nevertheless, for ethical reasons, the testicles of the donor, which produce and transport sperms were not transplanted.
Commenting on this issue, Dr. Gerald Brandercher, Johns Hopkins scientific director of the Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Program and a surgeon who was also involved in the transplant said:
“For ethical reasons, we would not want to transplant the germ line from the donor, because that would mean that, were the recipient to father a child, that actually the genetic background of the child would be from the donor and not from the recipient.
In particular, the ability of the recipient of the transplant to have children would result in genetic material being transmitted from the donor of the transplanted tissue to the recipient’s offspring. But in a second step, the patient will receive testicle prostheses”, he said.
This type of transplant is referred to as Vascularised Composite Allotransplantation (VCA), a type of transplant which involves a body part or tissue transferred from one person to another. It consists of the transplantation of the arms, muscles, skin, nerves- and now the genitals.
So far, four penile transplants have taken place in the history of man. The first successful transplant was performed by a team of medical experts in South Africa at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town but this was only on the penis; not the penis and scrotum.
So, this recent transplant is the first ever to be carried out and was completely successful.