Potential penis transplant recipients 'not picky' over organ

2015-06-11 21:09
Professor Andre van der Merwe. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Professor Andre van der Merwe. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Stellenbosch - Prior to the first penile transplant, the team of surgeons who led this ground-breaking operation faced criticism, funding issues and adversity from medical professionals who argued a penis is not a "necessary" organ.

However, Stellenbosch University urologist Professor Andre van der Merwe, who led the nine-hour surgery, said the success of the procedure has led to a flood of requests for assistance from men with penile problems. 

He was speaking at a public lecture on Thursday where academic research topics are discussed in a more understandable way for non-experts in the field.

Graphic photos taken before and during the surgery, and shown at the discussion, had some students shutting their eyes, wrinkling their noses and muttering expletives.

Van der Merwe said potential recipients are so desperate for a penis they "are not picky" about details such as the size or colour.

For now, only people that have lost a penis due to complications resulting from ritual circumcision are considered for the operation, which the professor said was possible to complete in four hours.

The criteria may on a later stage be expanded to men who have lost their penis due to medical conditions or congenital abnormalities.

Applicants were screened to determine if they were psychologically stable to accept an organ and to determine if they would be able to comply with the programme, he said.

Van der Merwe also confirmed the 21-year-old recipient of the first transplant was about to become a father, an indication that the donated organ "is functioning".

"He is able to have sexual intercourse normally," the professor pointed out.

Future operations could take place as early as mid-August, he added.

Read more on:    stellenbosch  |  penis transplant  |  health

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