A U.S. hospital says it’s all set to perform a penis transplant operation on a wounded soldier, the first operation of its kind in the country. The anonymous serviceman, injured in an explosion whilst deployed abroad, will undergo the operation just as soon as a donor with a compatible penis can be identified. Surgery could take place within the next few weeks, reported the Washington Post. The donor will need to be of the correct age and skin color and permission must be given by their next of kin.
Until now surgeons at Johns Hopkins University have been rehearsing the twelve-hour operation on cadavers in preparation for their first live patient. If the transplant is a success, there are sixty other wounded U.S. servicemen also potentially waiting to receive new reproductive organs.
U.S. News discloses that the delicate operation may also involve reconnecting nerves and blood vessels and replacing the scrotum, part of the abdominal wall, groin tissue and part of the inner thigh. Doctors hope the transplanted organ will become fully functional six to twelve months after the operation has taken place.
Last year South African surgeons performed the world’s first ever successful penis transplant operation and the procedure has already resulted in the birth of a child to the organ’s new owner. It is hoped that the operation at Johns Hopkins University hospital will not only restore full sexual and reproductive function to the recipient but also help to heal the psychological trauma such an injury no doubt causes in the victim. Carisa Cooney, clinical research manager of the Johns Hopkins Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, told the Washington Post that the surgery would help to restore the patient’s sense of identity:
These are very important in terms of giving back a sense of self.
However, as the Washington Post article warns, the operation is not without risk. A previous attempt to transplant a penis in China proved unsuccessful when the organ’s beneficiary was unable to adjust psychologically to the alien appendage newly attached between their legs and demanded that the penis be removed again.