article comment count is: 0

Second successful penis transplant performed by Stellenbosch University team in South Africa

In South Africa, the world’s third successful penis transplant has been successfully performed by a team from Stellenbosch University at the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. The transplant took nine and a half hours. The recipient of the transplant was a black man who had complications after a traditional circumcision 17 years ago and had lost his penis while the donor was a white man.

After performing a ground breaking operation that lasted nine hours on 11 December 2014, the first penile transplant in the world, the same team replicated the same feat successfully this year, which was their second successful penile transplant, and the third in the world.

In a press statement made by the Stellenbosch University (SU), the team from the Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital made history by becoming the first medical centre in the world to successfully perform this procedure twice.

The operation was led by Prof André van der Merwe, the Head of the Division of Urology at SU’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). This second operation took nine and a half hours and was performed on 21 April at the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.

Read: When penis enlargement goes terribly wrong

The donor was a white man while the recipient was a black man who’d had complications after a traditional circumcision 17 years ago and had lost his penis. The 40 year old recipient, due to ethical reasons has his identity being protected.

Just like the first transplant case, the recipients had to undergo penile transplant due to complications arising from circumcision. Both recipients were black South Africans although in this second case, the donor was a white man. This procedure is equally very helpful to recipients who’d lost their penises from penile cancer.

Prof Van der Merwe said, “I think the lack of penis transplants across the world since we performed the first one in 2014, is mostly due to a lack of donors. It might be easier to donate organs that you cannot see, like a kidney, than something like a hand or a penis.”

File picture. KNH medical team operating on conjoined twins blessing and Favour Photo: Kenyatta National Hospital/Facebook

The team that performed this year’s operation include Van der Merwe, Prof Rafique Moosa, head of the FMHS’s Department of Medicine, Dr Amir Zarrabi and Dr Zamira Keyser of Tygerberg Hospital.

Dr Zarrabi of the FMHS’s Division of Urology was quoted in the release as saying, “Patients describe a penis transplant as ‘receiving a new life’. For these men the penis defines manhood and the loss of this organ causes tremendous emotional and psychological distress.”

It is expected that in six months, the urinary and reproductive functions of the penis would be regained. While the first operation conducted was said to be experimental, the second one was more scientific. While the operation is ongoing, the patient must be brain dead but the heart must still be beating so as to avoid rejection.

Read: Zimbabwean mother cuts off two year old son’s penis

One can’t overemphasize the function of the penis, both for urinary, reproduction and pleasure and how it’s tied to the ego of a man.  But with circumcision, especially as it happens annually, the case of amputated penises might not come to an early stop and the challenge might be that of finding a donor.

Dr Zarrabi further said, “I usually see cases of partial or total amputations in July and December – the period when traditional circumcisions are performed.”

With an estimated 250 amputated penises per year due to traditional circumcision, and unlikely government intervention to reduce these figures, this new procedure might be the hope many might have.

The second penile operation was done in the U.S. at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It was done a year and a half later after the first operation on 16 May 2016.

Tell us what you think