Surgeons in South Africa have successfully completed what is believed to be the world’s first successful penile transplant, after a marathon 9-hour operation performed at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town.
This is the second time that this type of procedure has been attempted, but the first time in history that a successful long-term result was achieved.
The unnamed recipient was a 21-year-old whose penis had been amputated three years ago after a botched circumcision performed during a traditional African rite. Since his transplant surgery in December, the young man has regained full use of his organ.
“South Africa remains at the forefront of medical progress,” says Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean of SU’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). “This procedure is another excellent example of how medical research, technical know-how and patient-centred care can be combined in the quest to relieve human suffering. It shows what can be achieved through effective partnerships between academic institutions and government health services.”
“This is a very serious situation,” said Professor Andre van der Merwe, who led the procedure. “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.”
Dozens of hopeful patients are already lining up for penile transplants.