On Monday, Johns Hopkins Hospital doctors announced that their plastic and reconstructive surgeons had successfully carried out the world's first transplant of a penis, scrotum and abdominal wall on a soldier who sustained injuries in Afghanistan and lost his genitals.
A soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan from an IED blast just received a life-changing surgery.
"We are optimistic that he will regain near-normal urinary and sexual functions following a full recovery", W.P. Andrew Lee, professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told reporters on a conference call. Receiving those organs might have enabled the patient to go on to father children with the donor's sperm, something deemed medically unethical.
'It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept, ' the patient said.
'When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal... "Confidence ... like finally I'm OK now", he says. He is expected to be discharged from the hospital this week after recovering from the surgery. Manning issued a statement following the operation saying: "Today I begin a new chapter filled with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries".
Two years ago, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital performed a more limited transplant on a penile cancer patient.
Doctors have previously succeeded at transplanting penises only, so adding the scrotum represented an additional advance for surgeons.
Two have been done in South Africa, the nation that achieved the first such successful surgery in 2015.
The veteran is on a regimen of drugs created to minimize the risk of tissue rejection and is expected to leave the hospital this week. Veterans like the man who received last month's surgery also often don't have enough viable tissues in other parts of their bodies, he said.
Penis transplants are not completely new. From 2001 to 2013, 1,367 men, almost all under the age of 35, returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan with genital injuries, according to the Department of Defense Trauma registry. Finding donors is an additional hurdle: In the USA, people or their families who agree to donate organs such as the heart or lung must be asked separately about also donating a penis, hand, face or other body part.
Most organ transplants require the family to make a quick decision to donate after someone dies.
"We are all very proud that our loved one was able to help a young man that served this country".