Science

The first successful penile and scrotum transplant

For the first time, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US achieved the first complete penile and scrotum transplant worldwide.

“We hope that this transplant will restore to almost normal the sexual and urological function of the young man,” said Andrew Lee, professor and director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical School of the American University.

The team of the nine plastic surgeons and two urologists took 14 hours to complete the transplant, which took place on March 26th. The cuttings, the whole penis and the scrotum without the testicles and part of the abdominal wall, came from a cadaveric donor.

The recipient is a young soldier who has suffered multiple injuries in a US mission to Afghanistan and asks not to be named. According to doctors, it has already recovered from the surgical procedure and is expected to be discharged from the hospital this week.

“When I arrived from the narcosis, I felt normal again, with a sense of self-confidence. As if I were ok again, “said the patient.

It is worth noting that while it is feasible to reconstruct the penis from body tissues, the prosthetic implant should be able to achieve erection and this poses a high risk of infection. Also, due to other wounds that soldiers may have, often there may be insufficient live tissue elsewhere in the body to be taken as a graft.

However, by transplantation from a cadaverous donor, skin, muscles and tendons, nerves, bone and blood vessels are taken and a more complete transplantation is performed. Of course, there is always the risk of graft rejection but the young person in this case has been subjected to strong immunosuppressive therapy.

Indeed, the scientific team has developed an immunological protocol to minimize the number of drugs to prevent graft rejection.