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First U.S. Penis Transplant

The first U.S. penis transplant was performed in Boston on May 8 and 9th by a team lead by a plastic surgeon. This is the third such penis transplant in the world. The 64 year-old male patient had his penis previously removed due to cancer. The operation took 15 hours over two days with the penile transplant coming from a deceased donor. The transplant surgery was part of a research program whose ultimate goal is to aid combat veterans with significant pelvic injuries as well as those men who have had penile resection due to cancer and penile amputations due to trauma.

Like all organ transplant surgeries, they are a marvel and plastic surgery has been at the leading edge of many of them for decades. While face transplants have gotten the most attention over the past few years, it is a far more complex type of tissue transplantation than that of a solid organ like the penis.

penile anatomyBut a penis transplant is still a challenge and this single operation belies the work that lead up to it. The hospital team spent several years preparing for the penile transplant which involved a lot of cadaver work to learn the intricate details of the anatomy as well as becoming proficient at harvesting a penis from a donor. Like so many things in life, a  single event if it is to be successful comes with a lot of preparation. Every new type of tissue transplant has required thousands of hours of preparation for the actual event. While microsurgery and reattaching blood vessels and nerves has been around for over 25 years, performing it on a new organ still requites a lot of forethought.

Plastic surgery continues to develop new techniques for reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. What will be learned for performing a pioneering surgery like penis transplants will one day translate into other more everyday surgical techniques. That has been the history of plastic surgery over the past 100 years.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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