Back in March, doctors in South Africa announced that a penis transplant had been declared successful for the first time in medical history. The surgery, which took place in December, was performed on a 21-year-old who had lost most of his penis three years prior, following a botched circumcision. Now, his doctors have some more good news to share: the transplant recipient is going to be a father, the BBC reports. His partner is about four months pregnant.
"It is a milestone for him."
"This is what we intended, that he should be able to stand up and be able to urinate and have intercourse, so it is a milestone for him," Andre Van der Merwe, the surgeon who led the operation and the head of urology at Stellenbosch University, told the BBC.
The December penis transplant took nine hours to complete. By March, the patient's organ was "fully functional," his doctors said. The recovery happened far more quickly than expected; Van der Merwe thought the patient would recover within two years.
Traditional circumcisions like the one the patient underwent are risky affairs; they often don't take place in sterile environments. As a result, penis amputations aren't uncommon in South Africa. And unfortunately, for this type of organ harvest, obtaining the consent of a donor's family can be difficult. In this case, the family agreed after Van de Merwe and his team promised to use leftover skin to make a penis-like appendage for the donor's body.
A penis transplant had to be reversed in 2006
This wasn't the first penis transplant attempt, but it is certainly the most successful. The first such operation took place in China, in 2006. Doctors spent 15 hours attaching a penis to a 44-year-old patient, but the procedure had to be reversed two weeks later. The recipient and his wife said they were suffering from psychological problems following the transplant.