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Vascularized composite allotransplantation of the penis: current status and future perspectives

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Abstract

Given the multifunctional role of the penis in daily life, penile loss can be a physically and emotionally devastating injury. Options to restore penile loss have traditionally relied on autogenous free flap, local flaps, and skin grafts. These techniques provide satisfactory outcomes but carry high rates of urologic and prosthesis-related complications. Vascularized composite allotransplantation may offer a novel solution for these patients through reconstruction with true penile tissue. Still, penile transplants pose ethical, logistical, and psychosocial challenges. These obstacles are made more complex by the limited cases detailed in published literature. A review of the literature was conducted to assay current practices for penile reconstruction. Most modern complex penile reconstructions utilize autogenous pedicled or free tissue flaps, which may be harvested from a variety of donor sites. A total of five penile transplants have been described in the literature. Of these, four report satisfactory outcomes. The advent of genital allotransplantation has recently broadened the landscape of treatment for penile loss. Reconstruction using true penile tissue through vascularized penile allotransplantation has the possibility to engender increased penile function, sensation, and overall quality of life.

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Fig. 1: Vascular supply of the phallus.
Fig. 2: Vascular supply of the phallus with surgical anastomotic approach to penile allotransplantation as performed Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, USA.

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AOG was responsible for conducting a literature search, extracting and analyzing data, interpreting results, updating reference lists, creating tables and figures, and writing the report. IVL was responsible for conducting a literature search, extracting and analyzing data, interpreting results, updating reference lists, creating tables and figures, and writing the report. CDL was responsible for interpreting results and writing the report. RK was responsible for conducting a literature search, extracting and analyzing data, and interpreting results. GB was responsible for designing the study, reviewing the report for accuracy and completion, and providing feedback on the report. DC was responsible for designing the study, reviewing the report for accuracy and completion, and providing feedback on the report. RJR was responsible for designing the study, reviewing the report for accuracy and completion, and providing feedback on the report.

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Girard, A.O., Lake, I.V., Lopez, C.D. et al. Vascularized composite allotransplantation of the penis: current status and future perspectives. Int J Impot Res 34, 383–391 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-021-00481-0

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