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So Far, First Penis Transplant is a Success

Surgeons in South Africa have performed the world’s first penis transplant.

Five weeks after surgery, the 21-year-old patient has been able to urinate, get erections, and have sexual intercourse. He does not yet have full feeling in the new penis, but he can still reach orgasm and ejaculate.

His doctors thought a full recovery would take about two years.

The patient, a member of the Xhosa tribe, had his penis amputated after a botched circumcision when he was 18. In his culture, circumcision is a rite of passage for young men that age. The procedure is done by a tribal practitioner rather than a doctor.

An estimated 250 men in South Africa have penis amputations every year because of circumcision complications.

The transplant operation lasted for nine hours. The surgery involved connecting small, intricate blood vessels and nerves from the patient’s stump to a donor penis.

Finding a donor penis was a challenge. Eventually, the family of a dying man on life support agreed to donate some of his organs, including his penis.

As part of a pilot study, the surgeons plan to perform nine more penis transplants.

“There is a greater need in South Africa for this type of procedure than elsewhere in the world, as many young men lose their penises every year due to complications from traditional circumcision,” said lead surgeon André van der Merwe in a press release. Dr. van der Merwe heads the Division of Urology at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa.



Gallagher, James

“South Africans perform first 'successful' penis transplant”

(March 13, 2015)

MedPage Today

Wallan, Sarah Wickline

“First Penis Transplant Fully Functional”

(March 13, 2015)


Grose, Thomas K.

“Botched Ritual Circumcision Leads To World's First Penile Transplant”

(March 19, 2015)

Stellenbosch University

“Stellenbosch University doctors perform first successful penile transplant in the world”

(Press release. March 13, 2013)