A South African university is claiming to have carried out the world’s “first successful penile transplant”.
Surgeons at Stellenbosch University performed the nine-hour operation in Cape Town in December.
The recipient of the transplant is a 21-year-old whose penis had to be amputated three years ago after he developed severe complications after a traditional circumcision, a statement from the university said.
The unnamed man has made a full recovery since surgery and has regained all function in the newly transplanted organ, said Professor Andre van der Merwe who led the operation.
Prof van der Merwe added: “This is a very serious situation. For a young man of 18 or 19 years the loss of his penis can be deeply traumatic. He doesn’t necessarily have the psychological capability to process this. There are even reports of suicide among these young men.”
He also thanked the donor and his family, pointing out the donor’s heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, skin and corneas were also donated.
Nine other patients are set to receive penile implants following the success of the procedure, which is being touted as an option in cases of penile cancer and severe erectile dysfunction.
Though there are no formal records on the number of penile amputations per year due to traditional circumcision, the university reported up to 55 cases in the Eastern Cape alone, with some estimates of as many as 250 a year across the country.
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register here.