Doctors to perform penis transplants on injured soldiers

The first penis transplant in the U.S. will be performed on a young soldier within a year

BALTIMORE — Doctors from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will perform a penis transplant on a young soldier with a horrific injury from a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

The operation has never been performed before in the U.S.

The New York Times reports the doctors expect the patient to be able to urinate, feel sensation and eventually have sex within months.

Between 2001 and 2013, 1,367 men in the military suffered wounds to their genitals while in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Nearly all of them were under 35 years old and lost all or part of their penises or testicles.

"These genitourinary injuries are not things we hear about or read about very often," Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, the chairman of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins, told the New York Times. "I think one would agree it is as devastating as anything that our wounded warriors suffer, for a young man to come home in his early 20s with the pelvic area completely destroyed."

This operation is known to have been performed before only twice, in China in 2006, which failed, and in South Africa last year, which was successful. Johns Hopkins gave doctors permission to perform 60 transplants. Then, based on the outcomes, it will evaluate if the transplant will become a standard procedure.

Doctors told patient not to expect to regain all abilities, but they said there’s hope for them to father children, if their testicles are intact.

The operation is being offered only to men injured in combat for now.

The university will pay for the first transplant and doctors are donating their time.

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