Recipient of First Penis and Scrotum Transplant is "Fully Functional"

Henrietta Strickland
November 8, 2019

"His return of function has actually exceeded our expectations", said Dr. Richard Redett, a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Hopkins.

I didn't think I'd ever be typing this, but when I read the news I was so interested and blown away by what science can do today that I was compelled to write it.

The procedure appears to have been a success and the unfortunate emasculated war hero is now "feeling whole again", doctors reported.

"In this case, there was a devastating trauma", Cetrulo said of the Hopkins patient.

That "function" includes the ability to have erections and be able to urinate while standing. And the flap, usually taken from the forearm, isn't made from inherently erectile tissue so patients have to get an implant that doesn't always stay in place.

A preoperative computed tomographic reconstruction of the extent of the injury in the transplant recipient.

Finding donor tissue is also challenging, according to Redett.

In the meantime, the team practiced on cadavers.

The achievements of the person's transplant is encouraging info for the opposite individuals in need of this form of a delicate reconstruction. Dorsal arteries will be discovered on the deep, proximal portion of the penile graft.

"We'd figured it out on a cadaver, but it's a big leap to do it in a patient", Redett said. Much of the rest of the time was spent connecting small blood vessels and nerves and attaching the urethra. "At the same time, we had started exploring penile transplantation".

After the surgery, getting the immunosuppression right is critical, Redett said.

The graft after explantation from the donor.

The team had been preparing for such surgery on the man since 2013, Redett said. The veteran had alemtuzumab and glucocorticoid induction therapy, followed by the bone marrow infusion and tacrolimus maintenance monotherapy.

About a month after the procedure, the recipient - who wishes to remain anonymous - said that he "finally felt more normal".

The transplant included part of the abdominal wall, but not the testicles. The man has returned to school, is living independently with leg prostheses, and is "very satisfied" with his transplant and his outlook for the future.

The cost of the penis and scrotum transplant was estimated to be between $300,000 and $400,000. The first, done in China in 2006, failed, and the second, done in South Africa, became infected and some of the tissue had to be removed. One was performed in 2016, at Massachusetts General Hospital - the first penis transplant done in the United States.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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