After 14 surgical hours, an American Armed Forces veteran was able to regain genitalia. It was the most complete penile transplant in the world and was held at Johns Hopkins Hospital in late March, today the hospital. Anonymous patient walks and can leave the hospital this week.
This was the fourth successful penile transplant in the world so far, she told a press conference Richard Redett, clinical director of Johns Hopkins's gene transplant program.
But it is the first time that doctors managed to transplant such a large area of the body, including a region of the lower abdomen, the entire penis and the testicles, from a dying donor. Doctors say they will soon know if the patient can urinate, but recovery will last longer, perhaps about six months.
- Hopkins Med News (@HopkinsMedNews) April 23, 2018
The patient's legs, penis, testicles and lower abdomen virtually disappeared from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, according to The New York Times.
Victims of such attacks are usually young - just 24 years old on average, according to a report published by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and there are many of them: at least 1.378 men in the armed forces returned home with genital injuries from 2001 to 2013, states in the report.
March surgery in the US veteran started with 2013. This is partly due to long technical preparation, which included dissections and test surgical interventions in corpses. Donor and recipient matching were also a little more complicated than for an organ such as the kidney, according to the press release: In addition to matching the donor and recipient blood type, doctors also fit their age and the tone of the skin. And because the recipient had rare blood, there were fewer potential donors.
The team decided earlier not to transplant the testicles. Damon Cooney, a professor of plastic surgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said that with the testicles, the recipient of the transplant could have acquired a child who would have the donor DNA.
"We just thought there were a lot of unanswered ethical questions about this type of transplant," Cooney said.
For surgery, 11 surgeons were needed for 14 hours, and so far, the patient responds well.
"I finally felt more normal."