First successful penis transplant announced in South Africa three months after groundbreaking surgery

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This medical breakthrough is sure to arouse interest.

A South African surgical team pulled off the world’s first successful long-term penile transplant, giving a 21-year-old man a working penis more than three years after he lost his own from complications stemming from a ritual circumcision that went awry.

The groundbreaking nine-hour procedure, performed on Dec. 11, 2014, restored all of the man’s urinary and reproductive functions, the doctors said Friday.

“Our goal was that he would be fully functional at two years and we are very surprised by his rapid recovery,” lead surgeon Andre van der Merwe, of Stellenbosch University, said Friday.

Doctors in China successfully performed a similar transplant years ago, but the 44-year-old recipient and his wife had such a severe psychological reaction to the new organ that doctors sliced off the transplant two weeks later later.

This time around, surgeons at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town were able to undertake the operation because a man who recently died had donated his heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, skin, corneas and penis. The surgeons created a penis-like shape out of abdominal skin so the man could be buried appearing whole.

“It’s a massive breakthrough. We’ve proved that it can be done – we can give someone an organ that is just as good as the one that he had,” Prof. Frank Graewe, who assisted in the operation.

 

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