A US veteran who was injured while serving in Afghanistan has become the first recipient of a total penis and scrotum transplant.
A reconstructive surgery team of of nine plastic surgeons and two urological surgeons performed the operation at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
The 14-hour surgery, which took place on March 26th, transplanted the organs from a deceased donor.
They took the entire penis, scrotum (without testicles) and partial abdominal wall.
The recipient, who wishes to remain anonymous, has recovered from the surgery and is expected to be discharged from the hospital shortly.
"It's a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept," he says.
"When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal... [with] a level of confidence as well. Confidence... like finally I'm OK now."
Image: Johns Hopkins Medicine
WP Andrew Lee is professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine.
"We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man".
While it is possible to reconstruct a penis using tissue from other parts of the body, Lee says a prosthesis implant would be necessary to achieve an erection - and that comes with a much higher rate of infection.
This type of transplant, where a body part or tissue is transferred from one individual to another, is called vascularized composite allotransplantation.
The surgery involves transplanting skin, muscles and tendons, nerves, bone, and blood vessels.
The Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgery team has previously performed the first bilateral arm transplant in the US.