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Penis Transplants & Trans Men

As discussed earlier this week, penis transplants are old news. But what’s not old news? Exploring how this new technology can help men who are trans.

The subject was recently discussed with a great, thorough Fusion article. The story speaks with doctors to answer the question of if penis transplants are going to benefit persons seeking gender confirmation surgery. What does this mean for those who seek a penis part who didn’t have any pre-existing penis parts?

The short of the story is that the transplants aren’t yet ready to translate to someone who didn’t already have a penis. “I don’t think we’re ready for a transplant for a trans male because it would be a little bit different in terms of the tissue requirement,” Dr. Loren Schechter explained as it relates to a lot of additions and subtractions that haven’t quite been tested yet. Thus, it’s not quite possible.

…but there are other options. One of them is called a “phalloplasty” which seems to be a great option for confirming a trans man’s gender.

For now, Schechter’s focus remains on phalloplasty, the procedure he performs for transgender men who’d like to have some of the main functions of a biological penis. Before the procedure, the patient must have a hysterectomy and have the vagina removed. With the phalloplasty, the surgeon then lengthens the urethra, constructs a scrotum and creates the shape of the penis. Later, a urologist will put in a penile implant and erectile device.

As noted, the upside of this procedure is that the body doesn’t “reject” the penis, which is a horrifying possibility for those getting a transplant. Yet, there are limitations: those who receive phalloplasty can’t ejaculate while those who get transplants can.

Clearly, we have a long road. This story along with THINX’s inclusion of a trans male in a period campaign along with facts about trans men getting pregnant highlight the unique healthcare issues for the trans community—and that gender confirmation surgery isn’t absolutely necessary for the trans male experience. Everyone is different! In any event, this is new, exciting territory that we’ll absolutely be hearing more about.

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