Veteran who survived blast in Afghanistan receives penis transplant

WASHINGTON -- A veteran who lost his genitals due to a blast in Afghanistan has received the world’s most extensive penis transplant, according to the Associated Press.

Surgeons at John Hopkins University said they wanted to address “an unspoken injury of war” by rebuilding the man’s entire pelvic region, transplanting a penis, scrotum and part of an abdominal wall from a deceased donor.

In total, officials with the hospital said the surgery took 14 hours.

Such transplants "can help those warriors with missing genitalia just as hand and arm transplant transformed the lives of amputees," Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, Hopkins' chairman of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

The patient, who asked to keep his identity hidden, is expected to regain urinary and sexual function.

The scrotum transplant didn’t include the donor’s testicles, so reproduction won’t be possible.

Three other successful penis transplants have been performed. Two in South Africa and one at Massachusetts General Hospital.

For functionality, surgeons had to connect nerves and blood vessels. Hopkins is now screening additional veterans to see if any are good candidates for this type of reconstructive transplant.

In a statement, Hopkins says the patient was quoted as saying: "When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal."

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