An Afghan war veteran, who had undergone a scrotum and penis transplant a year and a half ago can now have a normal erection and urinate standing up, according to a letter by doctors published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Ray, who survived a roadside bomb explosion in 2010, had his legs, genitals and lower abdominal wall blown off. After the blast he had to learn to walk again on prosthetic legs and adapt to his other injuries.
"It was one of those injuries that really stresses you out and you think, ‘Why would I keep going?’”, Ray said, telling that at some point he even contemplated suicide, but changed his mind when he thought that he could have died in Afghanistan.
In 2013, doctors told Ray that he would become an ideal patient for a surgery that had never been performed and after that had to wait for five more years before a donor was found. A team of 25 scientists at John Hopkins University performed the very complex surgery, the first-ever full penis transplant, which lasted for 14 hours.
The doctors came up with new technique to connect Ray’s arteries so that blood would flow into the donor’s organ. Surgeons stitched together vessels that were thinner than a human hair. According to doctors, Ray, who is now in his mid-30s, has returned to school full-time and feels “whole again”. A year and a half later he lives a full live, he can urinate, have an erection and orgasm. He is unable to produce sperm, because doctors did not transplant testicles as any sperm generated from donated testes would be genetically related to a donor.