April 27th, 2015
With the medical field growing by leaps and bounds with every passing day, one more frontier has been conquered recently. Yes, surgeons had been toying with the idea of male genitalia transplant for ages. One such operation was carried out in 2005 but had to be reversed soon after. However, surgeons from Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa carried out what is being touted as the world’s first successful penis transplant on Dec 11, 2014. Although the operation was successful, it wasn’t disclosed to the public until now because the doctors wanted to observe the patient’s recovery and the use of the transplanted organ.
The operation, which has been in news all over the world for the past several days, was carried out on a 21 year old man from South Africa who had lost his penis after a botched circumcision three years ago. After the successful penis transplant surgery, the man is able to urinate normally and has become sexually active once again.
Professor André van der Merwe, head of the Division of Urology, Stellenbosch University felt that there was a need to develop a successful technique of penis transplant for thousands of men who lose their penis because of some reason. He and his team started planning for the surgery in 2010. The surgeons worked on improving techniques used for facial transplant so that they could be used for penis transplant.
The penis to be transplanted was obtained from a deceased person. The entire surgery lasted more than nine years but the results obtained were worth the efforts.
Penile transplant surgery is an operation carried out to attach a functional penis on to a man whose own penis has been removed because of some disease or some injury. The operation is complex as it is difficult to find a donor. The operation involves using microsurgery techniques to connect the blood vessels and nerves of the recipient with the transplanted organ so that it functions properly and also has sensations. This surgery is different from the surgery where a functional penis is given to a transsexual.
The world’s first successful male genitalia transplant was carried out on a 44 year old male in China who was left with a small penile stump after meeting a surgery. His urination as well as sexual life was hampered because of the injury to the penis. The surgeons obtained the donor penis from a brain dead person. The entire surgery lasted for more than 15 hours and was termed a success. However, the recipient asked the organ to be removed within 2 weeks of the operation because of personal reasons.
Every year so many men have to get their penis amputated because of diseases or injuries. It not only affects their micturition but also affects their sexual life. Losing one’s penis at a young age can have disastrous consequences. It is believed that as many as 250 young men from the Xhosa tribe in South Africa, between the ages of 18 and 24, lose their penis every year due to complications arising out of botched circumcision. It is a custom in their tribe to get a circumcision done at that age. Losing their organ has a severe adverse impact on their psychology. These men are deeply traumatized and some even commit suicide. Penile transplant surgery has come as a boon for such men.
There are around nine cases that the surgeons want to undertake in the near future. Gradually, they want to extend the benefit of penis transplantation to men who suffer from erectile dysfunction not responding to any treatment and to those who have lost their penis to penile cancer.
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