In what they're calling a "ground-breaking operation," doctors from South Africa's Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital announced that they have successfully performed a penis transplant.
Surgeons performed the transplant back in December, which was apparently the second attempt at a penis transplant.
The patient has already made a full recovery, and the penis is "fully functional."
Meaning he can...
Doctors had thought it could take up to two years, and were “very surprised by his rapid recovery.”
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. It was a privilege to be part of this first successful penis transplant in the world.
How’d they do it?
We used the same type of microscopic surgery to connect small blood vessels and nerves, and the psychological evaluation of patients was also similar.
The team acknowledges that the real hero of the story is the gentlemen who made the generous donation. Apparently, finding a donor organ was "one of the major challenges of the study."
Doctors have said the goal of the study was to develop a penile transplant procedure to assist men who have had their genitals amputated. Experts estimate that as many as 250 amputations are carried out per year in South Africa.
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.
Although the focus of the study was to assist amputees, the team has also said the procedure could be extended to men who lose their penises as a result of cancer, or even a "last-resort" treatment for erectile dysfunction.