Stellenbosch University

The World's Very First Penis Transplant Was Officially A Success

Doctors in South Africa made medical history by performing the world's first successful penile transplant.

The 21-year-old patient lost his penis more than three years ago following a ritual circumcision that accidentally left him with just 1 centimeter of his original organ.

He owes his newly-restored urinary and reproductive systems to a recently deceased man.

The dead man donated his lungs, kidney, liver, skin, corneas and penis.

According to New York Daily News, doctors took skin from the deceased man's abdomen and fashioned it into the shape of a penis, so he could maintain the appearance of a complete man in the grave.

This donated penis was attached to the patient in a nine-hour procedure that took place at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town on December 11.

Doctors used techniques typically reserved for face transplants because such procedures also deal with extremely thin blood vessels and nerves, the BBC reports.

A penis' blood vessels are just 1.5 mm wide, one surgeon said, compared to the 1-centimeter vessels of a kidney.

The team was able to restore the patient's ability to urinate, have an erection and ejaculate with pleasure, according to The Washington Post.

Lead surgeon Andre van der Merwe said,

Our goal was that he would be fully functional at two years and we are very surprised by his rapid recovery.

The Daily News also reported a story of a 44-year-old Chinese man who underwent a penis transplant in 2006, only to have it removed just 10 days later due to psychological trauma.

The South African patient, however, has yet to report any negative side effects and is quoted as being "very excited" about his new penis.

According to the Daily News, approximately 250 South African men have their penises amputated a year after ritual circumcisions, which often cause dangerous infections.

Reportedly, doctors are saying the nation has a greater need of penis transplants than any other country.

Citations: First successful penis transplant announced in South Africa three months after groundbreaking surgery (The New York Daily News), South Africans perform first successful penis transplant (BBC), Surgeons announce worlds first successful penis transplant (The Washington Post)