Many veterans will inevitably return home from war with the emotional and physical scars of their service – and some of these injuries are less visible than others.

Thankfully, there may now be a procedure to fix them.

Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University have just conducted the world’s first ever successful transplant of a penis, scrotum, and partial abdominal wall. Using the organs from a deceased donor, the 14-hour procedure was carried out by nine plastic surgeons and two urologists.

The recipient, a US war veteran who chose to remain anonymous, sustained the devastating injury from stepping on a hidden bomb in Afghanistan.

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“It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer, it is not an easy one to accept,” says the transplant patient.

While it’s possible to reconstruct a penis using tissue from other parts of the body, says the surgical team, a prosthesis implant would be necessary to achieve an erection, and that comes with a much higher rate of infection. Additionally, due to other injuries, servicemen often don’t have enough viable tissue from other parts of their bodies to work with.

The team hopes that after 6 to 12 months of healing, their patient’s urinary and sexual function will feel “near-normal”.

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They also hope to be able to perform the surgery on more patients in the future.

“When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal… [with] a level of confidence as well. Confidence… like finally I’m okay now,” said the patient.

The world’s first successful penis transplant took place in 2014 – but this is the first “total” transplant that has included the scrotum and abdominal wall.

Click To Share The Groundbreaking News With Your FriendsRepresentative photo by Tareq Salahuddin, CC

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