Wanted: Penis donors in SA

2015-03-15 18:43
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Penis transplant: our resident doctor weighs in

2015-03-13 19:37

Straight after the announcement that South African doctors had performed the world's first successful penis transplant, we speak to Health24's resident doctor about the significance of the procedure.WATCH

Johannesburg - Doctors are able and ready to perform penis transplants in all of South Africa’s hospitals. They are just waiting for willing donors, City Press reports.

South Africa made world medical history for the second time when a 21-year-old man recently got a new penis.

The first was Dr Christiaan Barnard’s successful heart transplant in 1967.

Professor Frank Graewe, one of the doctors who performed the procedure and head of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stellenbosch University, said the recipient of the penis transplant was one of several men on the waiting list.

His penis had to be amputated three years ago after a botched circumcision during a traditional initiation ceremony.

“It’s now three months later and the patient is recovering very well. He had sex five weeks after the operation.

“He gets good quality erections, ejaculates and has frequent sex with his partner. He is in a steady and healthy relationship,” Graewe said.

The nine-hour operation performed in December last year at Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital has international media buzzing.

The organ was harvested in a two-hour procedure from a donor who was declared brain dead. The whole penis was carefully dissected to keep blood vessels and nerves intact.

Graewe says the skin tone of the donor penis is similar to that of the patient.

“It will never be 100% similar, because even when the individuals have the same skin colour, complexions differ.”

He says they will take this aspect into account in future.

Professor André van der Merwe, head of the urology division at Stellenbosch who led the operation, has worked on research in this field since 2010.

He practised on cadavers to see which nerves, blood vessels and other elements had to be joined to guarantee normal functioning.

The patient is currently on immune suppression medication to prevent his body from rejecting the penis.

Graewe said they have a few patients ready for the next transplant.

“We wanted to first learn from the first transplant and the patient. We wanted to allow enough time for recovery. But he is recovering so well we can do the next transplant as soon as we’ve found a suitable donor.”

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