It’s a first step in helping hundreds of maimed vets
From 2001 to 2013, 1,367 men have returned home to the U.S. from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with serious damage to their genitals after being injured by improvisational explosive devices (IEDs). In addition to dealing with the hardships of returning home from war, these men are faced with the psychological pain of sexual dysfunction as well. But a recent surgical breakthrough this week is giving hope to men who thought their dysfunction was permanent.
Last week, 64-year-old Thomas Manning was the first man to have a successful penis transplant in a U.S. hospital. The surgery, which took place over May 8th and 9th at Massachusetts General Hospital, took 15 hours, 12 surgeons, and 30 healthcare workers, but doctors were able to replace his penis with a deceased donor’s. Manning had lost most of his penis due to cancer surgery and is looking forward to getting his life back on track. “I want to go back to being who I was,” Manning told The New York Times.
Currently, Manning is taking anti-rejection medications and, if all goes well, he should be able to urinate normally in a few weeks and regain full sexual function within a few months. He has good reason to be optimistic. The first-ever penis transplant was completed in South Africa in 2014 and after the surgery the recipient successfully fathered a child. “We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Dr. Curtis L. Cetrulo, a leader of the surgical team told The New York Times. “It’s uncharted waters for us.”