In Brief

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

surgeon, surgery, gloves, surgeon tools
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine performed the world's first complete penis-and-scrotum transplant.

The 14-hour operation, which took place on March 26, involved a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons, according to a statement from Johns Hopkins Medicine. The surgeons transplanted the entire penis, scrotum (without the testicles) and a part of the abdominal wall from a deceased donor to the recipient, a veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan.

The transplant was the result of more than five years of research, Dr. Richard Redett, clinical director of the genitourinary transplant program at Johns Hopkins, said today (April 23) during a news conference.

The operation involved transplanting skin, muscles, tendons, nerves, bone and blood vessels; the blood vessels and nerves were reconnected under the microscope, Redett said.

Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine performed the first full penis transplant. (Image credit: Devon Stuart for Johns Hopkins Medicine)

The doctors are hopeful that the man will regain near-normal urinary and sexual functions thanks to the transplant, Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said in the statement.

Lee noted that while it's possible to reconstruct a penis using tissue from other parts of the body, a prosthetic implant would be needed to achieve an erection. Such an implant comes with a higher risk of infection.

The man has recovered from the operation and is expected to leave the hospital this week, Redett said.

The first penis transplant in the U.S. was performed in March 2016, on a man who had his penis removed due to cancer. Last month's surgery, however, was the first to include the entire penis and scrotum.

Originally published on Live Science.

Sara G. Miller
Staff Writer
Sara is a staff writer for Live Science, covering health. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York. When she's not writing, she can be found at the library, checking out a big stack of books.