Side Note

Here is how a penis transplant works

A team of surgeons at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has completed the first successful penis and scrotum transplant, according to a release on the hospital’s site. Per the release, the transplant recipient sustained his injuries while serving active military duty in Afghanistan. To restore his reproductive area, surgeons took a whole slice of abdominal wall from a donor with the penis and scrotum attached and affixed it to the recipient’s reproductive area.

Surgeons have long been able to construct male reproductive organs using extra skin, as in the case of transgender surgery. The release notes that members of the military who receive this surgery often don't have the bodily material needed.

The transplant appears to be mostly skin, as the release strenuously notes it won’t be capable of an erection without an extra implant. A follow-up tweet from the hospital’s account clarified that the testicles were not transplanted, for “ethical reasons.” The Outline at present is not clear on what those ethical reasons are, but has requested comment and will update this space if we hear back. This reader seems to be on the right track: