Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is best known for its innovative surgery, such as implanting the first defibrillator in a human heart or being the first to separate twins who were joined at the head, will take on its most notable surgery yet.
This year, the hospital will perform the first U.S. penis transplant on a former U.S. soldier who was wounded in the Afghanistan war.
Dr. Richard Redett, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins, will perform the ground-breaking surgery. Redett plans to use a donated organ from a recently deceased man that will match the former soldier’s age and skin tone.
During surgery, Redett will join the nerves and blood vessel with the hopes of providing a fully functional organ, allowing for urination, sensation and sex.
According to Reuters, doctors and advocates alike have said this type of injury can cause emotional trauma, affecting a soldier’s sense of manhood, especially in those who plan on becoming a father.
“When you meet these guys and you realize what they’ve given for the country, it makes a lot of sense,” Redett told Reuters.
The surgery will take place in the next couple of weeks and will not involve the testicles, giving the veteran an opportunity to father a child.
So far, there have been two penis transplants in the world. The initial transplant took place in China in 2006, but was unsuccessful. The first successful penis transplant happened in South Africa in 2014