Nine more to receive penis transplants - university

2015-03-14 08:00

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We speak to the experts who performed the world's first successful penis transplant

2015-03-13 18:27

The University of Stellenbosch’s medical department announced the performance of the world’s first successful penis transplant. News24 spoke to the incredible doctors involved. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town – University of Stellenbosch’s (SU) faculty of medicine and health sciences announced that nine other patients will receive penile transplants following the success of their first procedure.

On Friday the university announced the performance of the world’s first successful penile transplant.

The Stellenbosch University health faculty described the procedure as a ground-breaking transplant operation, as doctors successfully transplanted a penis to a human being at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town, on 11 December 2014.

According to the SU Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), as part of the study, nine more patients will receive penile transplants.

SU said in a statement that this procedure could eventually also be extended to men who have lost their penises from penile cancer or as a last-resort treatment for severe erectile dysfunction due to medication side effects.

"It’s the first time success was achieved with such a procedure," the SU Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences said.

"South Africa remains at the forefront of medical progress," said Professor Jimmy Volmink, Dean of SU's FMHS.

"This procedure is another excellent example of how medical research, technical know-how and patient-centred care can be combined in the quest to relieve human suffering.

"It shows what can be achieved through effective partnerships between academic institutions and government health services."

How the procedure was done

Botched circumcision

The 21-year-old patient, whose identity is being protected for ethical reasons, had to have his penis amputated three years ago after a traditional circumcision caused severe complications, threatening his life.

The patient's identity is being protected for ethical reasons.

Doctors also fashioned a penis from abdominal skin for the donor, so he could be buried with something that appeared to be a penis.

The operation, led by SU’s Division of Urology head Professor Andre van der Merwe, lasted a marathon nine-hours. It was the first time a successful long-term result was achieved, after one previous attempt failed.

"Our goal was that he would be fully functional at two years and we are very surprised by his rapid recovery," says Van der Merwe. Van der Merwe was also assisted by Professor Frank Graewe, head of the Division of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery at SU FMHS, and Professor Rafique Moosa, head of the FMHS department of medicine, as well as other support staff.

"It's a massive breakthrough. We've proved that it can be done – we can give someone an organ that is just as good as the one that he had," says Graewe. "It was a privilege to be part of this first successful penis transplant in the world."

Read more on:    tygerberg hospital  |  stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  transplant  |  circumcision  |  health  |  tradition
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