The South Africans Did It Again: First It was the Heart Transplant, Now It’s the Penis

Who can forget the first human to human heart transplant by one of the most famous South African Dr. Christian Barnard? It was on December 3, 1967 that he did the pioneering surgery almost 50 years ago, shy of two years.

And now a South African university said Friday that it had performed a successful penis transplant, done in a nine-hour operation last December by specialists from the faculty of medicine and health services at the University of Stellenbosch.

The 21 year old patient, whose name was not released, had his penis amputated three years ago after complications from a circumcision performed in his late teens, the university said. “He has made a full recovery and has regained all function in the newly transplanted organ,” the university near Cape Town in southwestern South Africa said. This is the second successful attempt of this procedure.  The university did not give any details of the organ donor, even finding a one was a major challenge.

In 2005 a man in China received a penis transplant.Althought the operation was a success, the man asked the doctors to remove his new penis two weeks later because of psychological problems experienced by him and his wife.

The medical team had predicted that their patient would have full use of his transplanted organ in about two years, Prof. Andre van der Merwe, head of Stellenbosch University’s urology department and leader of the South African surgical team said.

“We are delightedly surprised by his rapid recovery,” van der Merwe said in comments released by the university.

Circumcisions are performed on boys and young men as a rite of passage to adulthood in some rural parts of South Africa. Stellenbosch University said experts had estimated that there could be as many as 250 penis amputations a year in the country because of botched circumcisions.  With substandard medical condition, infections could in which would lead to amputations.

 

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