Groundbreaking Penis Transplants Offer Hope To Injured Soldiers
Human organ and tissue transplants have really advanced over the years. One could get anything from a heart transplant to a face transplant, nowadays. Our medical industry is always evolving. One specific group that can benefit from these kinds of life-changing transplants are the men and women who come back from defending our country with devastating injuries.
Advances in Medicine
Medicine has made some serious advances when it comes to organ and tissue transplants over the years. It is almost as if the medical industry is entering the sci-fi realm.
We have all seen the horrific and devastating photographs of male soldiers who have lost their legs from the waist down. They are downright heartbreaking. After seeing those photographs, most of us can honestly say that we never even considered the kind of damage that might have been done to their genitals.
We probably do not think of the possibility of those kinds of injuries because they are not visibly clear as the loss of an arm or a leg. Maybe we just don't wonder about a genital injury out of respect since genitourinary injuries are just not talked about.
Since sex plays a major role in any loving relationship, an injury like this can have a very negative effect on a man's mentality and create a strain between him and his partner. It is human nature.
They will be the first.
There is one group of doctors, however, who are optimistic that they can bring back some hope to these soldiers. The surgeons at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will be the ones to make the first attempt at a penis transplant.
If their first trials at penis transplantation are successful, the surgeons believe that the recipients will regain urinary function, sensation, and the ability to have sex. This also means that these men will still have a chance to father children and start families with their loved ones. This kind of surgery is so life-changing that it will literally mean that new life can be brought into this world.
Who will be first?
Even though there are a lot of people would need this kind of transplant, they can be put on a list, but only members of the military who have suffered injuries to their penis and/or testicles while serving in combat will be eligible to start.
The chairman of plastic and reconstructive surgery at John Hopkins, W.P Andrew Lee, recently told The NY Times;
"These genitourinary injuries are not things we hear about or read about very often. I think one would agree it is as devastating as anything that our wounded warriors suffer, for a young man to come home in his early 20s with the pelvic area completely destroyed."
The Sad Truth
The sad truth is that 1.367 men in the military have had injuries to their genitals between 2001 and 2013. These injuries are usually caused by IEDs. The Canadian Medical Association Journal published an article in 2010 that said 12% of all war injuries involved genitourinary trauma.
A Devastating Loss
A loss like this is not purely physical. There are some serious psychological, social, and emotional issues that come with an injury like this. "To be missing the penis and parts of the scrotum is devastating. These guys have given everything they have." The University of Southern California School of Social Work's Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families have realized that there is a higher prevalence of depression and PTSD in soldiers with GU trauma. They also go through a slower recovery process and go through greater distress as well as show more suicidal behaviors than anyone with any other kind of injury.
One doctor even said when talking about how significant a penis is for a man, "Identity is a significant issue for many individuals who have sustained an injury that resulted in lost genitals, especially for younger individuals."
A Small Price To Pay
This type of surgery has been attempted before, twice. Only one of those transplants were considered successful. The surgery takes about 12 hours. It involves stitching the patient's nerves and arteries to the new penis. The patient will end up having to take medication for the rest of their lives in order to prevent their body from rejecting the transplant. It seems like a very small price to pay in order to have your manhood back.
Currently, Johns Hopkins is in the process of evaluating the first group of troops would will receive this surgery. All they have to do is find donors. News like this can change so many individuals lives especially since anyone can fall victim to these kinds of injuries as well as transgenders who are looking for realignment surgery.