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Injured Soldier to get First Penis Transplant in U.S. History

Update Date: Feb 20, 2016 12:41 AM EST

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital announced that an injured American soldier would be the first patient in U.S. history to receive a penis transplant.

The surgeons will be using a microscope to connect the nerves and blood vessels of a donated penis to the veteran, who has not been named. The vet will also be getting his scrotum, groin, and certain parts of the abdominal wall and inner thigh replaced with a "block of tissue from a donor."

The soldier had lost the majority of his penis and suffered major groin injuries in a bomb explosion that occurred when he was deployed in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

The doctors hope that after the 12-hour long procedure is done, the patient will be able to urinate and have sex normally within six months to one year. The doctors added that losing a sexual organ is one of the most emotionally traumatic experiences for men, which is why a successful penis transplant would be groundbreaking.

"When you meet these guys and you realize what they've given for the country, it makes a lot of sense," Dr. Richard Redett, a plastic surgeon who will be a part of the operation, told Reuters.

The doctors are now waiting to get an organ from a recently deceased male patient donor, whose age and skin tone would be a good match to the patient's. The donation would have to be made with the permission of the deceased patient's family. The doctors hope to schedule the surgery within the next few weeks.

If the transplant is successful, about 60 other servicemen with similar genital injuries could undergo the procedure as well. The team at John Hopkins said that the surgery would be exclusive for servicemen for now.

So far, only two penis transplants have been attempted. The first one took place in China in 2006 and was unsuccessful. The second one, which was successful, occurred in South Africa two years ago.

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