Doctor says soon trans men will be able to receive penis transplant surgery

A doctor and a patient in an exam room
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The doctor that has pioneered penis transplant surgery believes that soon it will become possible to operate a successful transplant.

“This would be a quantum leap if you were able to transplant a real penile structure. It’s certainly pushing the boundaries,” plastic surgeon Curtis Cetrulo, M.D. told MedPage Today.

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“We’re ready to do it, and we could do it pretty soon if we get it approved,” the Boston doctor claimed.

Cetrulo, who works at Massachusetts General Hospital, was the first to complete a successful penis surgery in 2016. Now he has to convince the medical community and hospital administration that it can be done.

Attempting the procedure on a transgender man would be its first use on a person with a non-penile reproductive system. The procedure is fairly new, with no established guidelines or standards and only done in the U.S. and South Africa.

Previously, Massachusetts General would only allow the transplant for “men who have congenital penis defects or who lost their penises to injury or cancer.” That can include cancer patients and soldiers – but officials are considering expanding that protocol to include trans patients.

Dicken Ko, who is on the Massachusetts General team of the has taken part in a testicular transplant between identical twins, said that he wouldn’t want to perform that surgery on a trans man because there would be question over who would be the parent to any children produced with the testicles.

The transplants on record have resulted in the renewed or continued ability for sexual function, urinary function, and maintain their typical aesthetic. If possible, penis transplants could replace phalloplasties and further minimize metoidioplasties.

Phalloplasties, which use skin grafts from “flaps” in the body and do not always have the ability to become erect, come with an up to 90% complication rate. Metoidioplasties, formed by clitoral tissue, are not always able to penetrate.

But Cetrulo believes penis transplants would cause “fewer urethral complications, better cosmetic outcome, and better physiological sexual capacity.”

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