- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2016

A U.S. soldier wounded in an explosion will soon be the first person in the United States to received a penis transplant, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital said.

Surgeons hope a donated organ from a recently deceased man will provide full function, including urination, sensation and sex. The surgery requires joining nerves and blood vessels under a microscope, Reuters reported.

If successful, the surgery could pave the way for about 60 other servicemen with genital injuries in need of the treatment.

The soldier, who was not identified, lost most of his penis and had severe groin injuries in a bomb explosion while deployed overseas, according to Reuters. Media reports have said he was wounded in Afghanistan.

The surgery could take place in the coming weeks. Doctors are searching for a donor who is a good match in terms of age and skin color.

There have been two penis transplant performed in the world. The first in China in 2006 was unsuccessful. The second in South Africa in 2014 was a success.

Many veterans who endure genital wounds are most concerned about how such an injury will affect their ability to have children.

“They would ask, ‘Is everything OK down there, doc? My wife’s at home and we’re trying to have a baby when I get back,” Thor Wold, who served as a Marine medic in the Iraq war and now works as an advocate for veterans, told Reuters.

Dr. Richard Redett, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins, said a veteran suffering from a blast injury could need to have not just his penis replaced but also his scrotum, part of the abdominal wall, groin tissue and part of the inner thigh.

“We’ve sorted out how to take that block of tissue from a donor and give it to a patient,” he told Reuters.

The transplant does not involved the testes, which produce sperm, so if a man who received a transplant does father a child, the babe would be his genetic offspring, not the donor’s.

Only wounded veterans are eligible for the surgery right now, but the procedure could eventually be open to men with birth defects and transgender men and women.

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