Wed, Apr 25, 2018 - Page 1 News List

First total penis-scrotum transplant performed in US

TAIWAN LINK:The team was led by Kaohsiung County-born W.P. Andrew Lee, who moved to the US at 15 and earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University


From left to right, Richard Redett, Trinity Bivalacqua, Brandacher Gerald, Arthur Bud Burnett and W.P. Andrew Lee, Taiwanese-American professor and director of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, stand around a mannequin in an undated photograph.

Photo: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine / AFP

Doctors at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on Monday said that they had performed the world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant on a US military serviceman who was wounded in Afghanistan.

The 14-hour operation was performed on March 26 by a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urologic surgeons led by Taiwanese-American W.P. Andrew Lee (李為平), a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery and chairman of the school’s plastic and reconstructive surgery department.

“We are optimistic that he will regain near-normal urinary and sexual functions following a full recovery,” Lee told reporters.

The patient was severely injured by a blast from an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan several years ago, Lee said.

The entire penis, scrotum without testicles and partial abdominal wall came from a deceased donor.

“It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept,” the recipient said in a statement. “When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal.”

The man lost his testicles in the explosion and did not get them restored as part of his transplant.

“The testicles were not transplanted, because we had made a decision early in the program to not transplant germline tissue, that is to say not transplant tissue that generates sperm, because this would raise a number of ethical questions,” plastic surgeon Damon Cooney said.

Doctors said they are hopeful the man will be able to urinate with his penis in the coming weeks, and that he will eventually regain enough sensation to achieve an erection.

The extent of his sexual function will not be known for about six months, doctors said.

Lee was born in what was then-Kaohsiung County’s Gangshan Township (岡山) to a father serving in the Republic of China Air Force. He immigrated to the US when he was 15 to join an older brother and sister who had immigrated earlier.

He earned an honors degree in physics from Harvard and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins, where he also completed his general surgery residency and a microvascular research fellowship before completing his plastic surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General.

Initially specializing in hand surgery, he has been working on human-to-human limb transplantation since 1986. When he was chief of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he led a team that performed the first bilateral arm transplant in the US on an injured soldier.

Additional reporting by staff writer and CNA

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