For the first time in medical history, a human penis transplant has been declared successful.
Doctors at the Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in South Africa performed the surgery back in December. The patient, a 21-year-old male from the Xhosa tribe, lost his penis three years earlier during a botched circumcision. After nine hours on the operating table and several months recuperating, doctors announced last week that the man’s penis is “fully functional.”
“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,” Frank Graewe, head of the Division of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery at Stellenbosch University, said in a statement. “It was a privilege to be part of this first successful penis transplant in the world.”
Doctors originally expected it would take about two years for the patient to achieve full use his new penis, but he recovered much sooner than anyone expected.
“We are very surprised by his rapid recovery,” said Andre Van der Merwe, the surgeon who led the operation and the head of Urology at Stellenbosch University.
Van der Merwe says he was worried about how the patient would cope psychologically after the operation. But there was no need for concern. “My joy was, with this guy,” he said. “He immediately accepted it. He was so happy to have a functioning penis again.”