Afghan War Vet Gets First-Ever Full Genital Transplant

Doctors Perform World's First Full Penis-and Scrotum Transplant

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Doctors at Johns Hopkins University said Monday they have performed the world's first total penis and scrotum transplant on a us military serviceman who was wounded in Afghanistan.

The patient, who asked not to be identified, survived a blast in Afghanistan a few years ago that devastated his groin and pelvic region.

"The testicles were not transplanted because we had made a decision early in the program to not transplant germline tissue, that is to say not transplant tissue that generates sperm because this would raise a number of ethical questions", said JHU plastic surgeon Damon Cooney.

"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept", the soldier said in a statement. The veteran also said that, thanks to the surgery he now feels more normal than before and that his confidence has returned thanks to the surgery. "Confidence ... like finally I'm OK now".

The man, whose identity was not released, is still recovering and likely to regain both urinary and sexual function, Richard Redett, who led the transplant team, said Monday in a telephone news conference.

The move is groundbreaking, and paves the way for the many other soldiers who have sustained genital injuries during combat.

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"We are all very proud that our loved one was able to help a young man that served this country", they said in a letter released by the donor group.

Three other successful penis transplants have been performed.

A team of surgeons says it has repaired the genitals of a serviceman severely injured by an explosion in Afghanistan.

Doctors have previously succeeded at transplanting penises only, so adding the scrotum represented an additional advance for surgeons. After such a surgery, the patient must continue to take a variety of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their body from rejecting the foreign tissue.

Lee said that although it was possible to reconstruct a penis using tissue from other parts of the patient's body, a prosthesis implant was necessary for erectile function. Johns Hopkins covered the cost of the veteran's transplant, and the doctors there are in the process of applying for a research grant that would offer coverage for further procedures.

About 1,367 male military members suffered genitourinary injuries from 2001 to 2013, according to data from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry cited by the Baltimore Sun. "Even if we'd just seen a major injury that's the organ we were all anxious about".

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