Advances that give patients new faces, hands and more aim to improve quality of life
Johns Hopkins Medicine
In a transplant first, a U.S. veteran severely injured by an explosive device in Afghanistan has received a penis and scrotum from a deceased donor.
During the 14-hour surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, doctors removed the patient’s damaged tissues and connected three arteries, four veins, two nerves and the urethra to the donated tissues. The patient is doing well and the first test — whether the surgery restored urinary function — is expected any day now. It will likely take another six months for the patient to regain sexual function. The hope, said surgical team member and plastic surgeon Richard Redett at a news conference on April 23, is that the patient will have a chance to “lead a more normal life.”
The milestone is the latest in a series of medical advances that have pushed transplant science beyond simply lifesaving. Since the first successful organ transplant — a kidney in 1954 — surgeons have gone from