First Penis and Scrotum Transplant Successfully Performed on U.S. Afghanistan Vet

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The world's first penis and scrotum transplant was a success. Pictured are operation tools in a Berlin hospital. Theo Heimann/Getty Images

A U.S. veteran became the recipient of the world's first penis and scrotum transplant in March. On Monday, the hospital where the operation was performed announced that the procedure had been a success.

Although there have been three previous penis transplants in the world, this is the first operation to also transplant a scrotum. The patient, identified only as a U.S. military sergeant, underwent the first-of-its-kind procedure at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland on March 26, USA Today reported.

The operation lasted 14 hours and required the help of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons. The donor and his cause of death were not reported. The donor's testicles were not transplanted to avoid ethical questions, The Guardian reported.

The soldier received the injury after stepping on a hidden bomb in Afghanistan. He was reportedly already feeling comfortable with his new body parts. "When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal like finally I'm OK now," the anonymous sergeant said in a statement, The BBC reported.

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The patient was expected to be able to urinate with his new penis within a few days. However, it will take longer for the new nerves to regrow to allow the patient to have sensation in his transplanted penis. Doctors expect he will regain sexual function with his penis within six months.

"We are so thankful to say that our loved one would be proud and honored to know he provided such a special gift to you," said the statement, read by Alexandra Glazier, president and CEO of New England Donor Services, which arranged for the donation, USA Today reported. "We hope you can return to better health very soon, and we continue to wish you a speedy recovery."

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The extensive operation involved not only a transplant of the donor's penis and scrotum, minus the testicles, but also a large skin graft to cover the patient's abdomen, penis and scrotum. The surgeons also had to connect three arteries, four veins and two nerves. To reduce the risk that his body would reject his new penis and scrotum, the patient received a bone marrow transplant from the organ donor. He will still need to take immunosuppressant medication, although at a much lower dose than is typically required.

First Penis and Scrotum Transplant Successfully Performed on U.S. Afghanistan Vet | Tech & Science