The transplant was done in a nine-hour operation last December by specialists from the faculty of medicine and health services at the University of Stellenbosch. The patient had his penis amputated three years ago following complications from a circumcision performed in his late teens, the university said.
The 21-year-old patient, whose name was not released, “has made a full recovery and has regained all function in the newly transplanted organ,” the university near Cape Town in southwestern South Africa said.
It was at least the second time the procedure had been attempted. The university did not give any details of the organ donor, but said “finding a donor was one of the major challenges.”
A man in China received a penis transplant in 2005. That operation also appeared to be successful, but doctors said the man asked them to remove his new penis two weeks later because of psychological problems experienced by him and his wife.
Prof. Andre van der Merwe, head of Stellenbosch University’s urology department and leader of the South African surgical team, said they had predicted that their patient would have full use of his transplanted organ in about two years.
“We are very surprised by his rapid recovery,” van der Merwe said in comments released by the university.
Circumcisions are performed on boys and young men as a rite of passage to adulthood in some rural parts of South Africa. Stellenbosch University said experts had estimated that there could be as many as 250 penis amputations a year in the country because of botched circumcisions.
The university said it was planning for nine more patients to receive penis transplants.