An American veteran could receive the first penis transplant in the U.S. in the next few weeks.
The operation will be conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. If the operation is a success, the donated penis will be capable of urination, sensation, and sex.
Reuters reports that doctors are prepared to perform the transplant “in the coming weeks.” However, the hospital has to wait for an appropriate donor – a recently deceased male of similar age and skin colour whose family has given permission to remove the penis.
The recipient, who remains anonymous, suffered genital injuries and lost most of his penis in a bomb explosion while serving in the Afghanistan war. Soldiers suffering substantial genital injuries might need transplant surgery for not just the penis, but also the scrotum, areas of groin tissue and parts of the abdominal wall and inner thigh.
During the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, 12 percent of war injuries involved genitourinary traumas. Reuters said that doctors who worked with servicemen have noted the particularly traumatic experience of losing a penis, reporting it can have a drastic effect on a man’s “identity and manhood.”
In 2014, the world’s first successful penis transplant was conducted in South Africa. In 2006, Chinese doctors also attempted a penis transplant, but the recipient asked to remove the new organ just 10 days after the operation because of psychological trauma.
At the moment, the operation in the U.S. is only being considered for wounded war veterans. However, doctors hope it could eventually be performed on men with birth defects and transgender people.