US Veteran Regains Sexual Function Thanks to Penis Transplant
Patient reports “feeling whole” after recovering from groundbreaking surgery.
More than a year and a half ago, we reported on a United States Navy veteran who suffered severe injuries to his scrotum and penis after he’d been attacked during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Now, via a recent Associated Press article, we are pleased to be able to say that the soldier has recovered from a penis transplant procedure and has even been quoted as saying that he is “feeling whole.”
The patient has regained both sexual and urinary function with the new organ.
Beyond the pleasure in delivering such good news about his condition, this update also brings with it a great deal of optimism that similar techniques could be used to heal others who have undergone similar injuries.
The operation, in which Richard Redett led an extensive team of surgeons including nine plastic surgeons and a pair of urological specialists from Johns Hopkins, took 14 hours to complete.
The procedure itself involved surgically attaching a set of sexual organs from a donor to the wounded serviceman.
While not the first of such operations, others having been performed for example by a team in South Africa, there was still some guarded optimism.
Now, though, it appears that not only has the procedure been a success, but, according to the AP report, the patient is more than happy with the result.
Hoping for the best
One place that has always been at least a little optimistic that the procedure would be advantageous was Johns Hopkins. There, as we also reported way back in 2016, doctors had been making tentative plans to use a similar technique on upwards of 60 other soldiers with similar injuries.
While we haven’t heard if these patients will be undergoing a similar operation anytime soon, we can only hope that the success of this one case will mean that others will have an opportunity to recover at least some sexual function.
Even though it has not been brought up by those involved, these kinds of procedures could also someday mean new surgical options for interested transsexuals beyond the techniques currently available.
Speculating further, the surgery may even be able to bypass the need for donations, instead of using biologically printed or biosynthetic genitalia to do the job.
A whole person
Meanwhile, the soldier, quoted by the New York Times, reports that he is extremely happy with the result, that it has put him on the path to being a complete person again and has even given him hope for the future—including possibly a career in medicine.
“Definitely, to do well in school,” he says about his plans, “to go to medical school and follow my career as a doctor, find my niche in the field and just excel at it. Maybe settle down and maybe eventually find someone, and get into a relationship, maybe. Just that normal stuff.“