Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland announced it will begin taking an organ from a deceased donor and giving it to an Afghanistan veteran within the next several months. The operation is going to be performed for the first time in the United States.
The American veteran is reportedly among the 1, 376 soldiers who suffered genital injuries from a bomb blast during battle from 2001 to 2013 in the Middle East, the New York Times (NYT) reported.
The surgery will take up to 12 hours to restore both urinary and sexual function, the report said.
While missing limbs have become a well-known symbol of wars, experts say that genital damage is a hidden wound — and, to many, a far worse one — cloaked in shame, stigma and embarrassment.
“These genitourinary injuries are not things we hear about or read about very often,” said Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, the chairman of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins.
“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.”
Dr. Lee cautioned that patients should be realistic and not “think they can regain it all.”
Only two other penis transplants have been reported in medical journals: a failed one in China in 2006 and a successful one in South Africa last year.
The surgery in US is considered experimental, and Johns Hopkins has given the doctors permission to perform 60 transplants, NYT reported.