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Soldiers give up a lot when they’re defending their country. For those who fall victim to snipers and explosives, and who survive, that could mean losing a limb or an organ or their sight. An often unspoken injury is the loss of genitalia. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where roadside bombs are a constant threat, have left more than 1,300 American soldiers mangled in this way. But a team of doctors and scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine is now ready to help—by performing the first penis transplant in the U.S.
There isn’t just one reason why penis transplants have taken so long to come about in the U.S. Part of it is probably that the transplant is still experimental. To many in the medical establishment, that’s an unnecessary risk for patients who have already undergone so much physical trauma—a patient’s life isn’t in danger if he doesn’t get a penis, as he would be if he needed a new liver or a kidney. Many doctors think restoring genitalia is medically (and ethically) wrong, that it’s not worth compromising the patient’s immune system for the rest of his life.
Arthur Burnett, a urologist and director of the sexual medicine fellowship program at Johns Hopkins Medicine who is on the surgical team, and his colleagues, disagree. “We argue that these portions of people’s bodies need to be considered in a different light,” he says. “Many of these guys are 25 and their genitalia is gone. They just want to be whole again.”
Read full, original post: How does a penis transplant work?