Penis transplantation

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Penis transplantation
ICD-9-CM 64.98
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Penis transplantation is a surgical transplant procedure in which a penis is transplanted to a patient. The penis may be an allograft from a human donor, or it may be grown artificially, though the latter has not yet been transplanted onto a human. Peripheral transplant procedures such as hand, face, or penis transplant surgery are controversial because they are not necessary to ensure the life of the patient. They may, however, significantly improve the patient's quality of life.

2006 allotransplant procedure

The first such procedure was performed in September 2006 at a military hospital in Guangzhou, China. The patient, a 44-year-old male, had sustained the loss of most of his penis in an accident. The transplanted penis came from a brain-dead 22-year-old male. Although a surgical success, the patient and his wife suffered psychological trauma as a result of the procedure, and had the surgery reversed 15 days later.[1][2] Following this, Jean-Michel Dubernard, who performed the world's first face transplant, wrote that the case "raises many questions and has some critics". He alluded to a double standard, writing:

I cannot imagine what would have been the reactions of the medical profession, ethics specialists, and the media if a European surgical team had performed the same operation.[3]

An example of a critic is Piet Hoebeke, a reconstructive urologist in Belgium, who wrote a letter that raised the question of whether or not ethics committees were involved, and criticized the group for the follow-up time of only 15 days. Hebeke asserted that successful voiding at two weeks is not predictive of long-term outcomes, and even that inadequate arterial anastomoses might not manifest themselves in this time.[4] The hospital that performed the first transplantation later issued a set of guidelines which, amongst other considerations, "recommended that the procedure be restricted to individuals with severe injuries who are unwilling to undergo traditional reconstructive surgery", according to a mini-review of the ethical issues surrounding penis transplantation published in the Asian Journal of Andrology.[5]

Laboratory-grown penis

In 2008, Anthony Atala and colleagues at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina transplanted bioengineered penises onto 12 rabbits. All of them mated and four produced offspring. It was a test for a concept he had been working on since 1992, with the aim of making human penises for transplant. He has produced test versions of bioengineered human penises, but none of them are suitable for transplantation yet.[6]

2014 procedure in South Africa

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The first successful penis transplant was performed at Stellenbosch University in South Africa (medical campus pictured)

In December 2014, the first successful penis transplant was performed on a 21-year-old man by specialists led by urologist, André van der Merwe from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. The surgical team consisted of urologist Andre van der Merwe and plastic surgeon Frank Graewe. The immunosuppression was conducted by Rafique Moosa. The nine-hour procedure used microsurgery to connect blood vessels and nerves.[7] The patient had lost his penis as a result of a botched circumcision procedure he underwent aged 18. As of 13 March 2015, the recipient was reported to have recovered function in the organ, including urination, erection, orgasm and ejaculation, but sensation is expected to take two years to return fully.[8][9] The doctors who performed the transplant were surprised by this, as they had not expected the patient to recover fully until about December 2016.[7] Given that circumcisions are performed frequently in parts of South Africa to mark a boy's transition to adulthood, and these are often unsanitary procedures, frequently carried out by uncertified amateurs, doctors have said that South Africa has some of the greatest need for penis transplantations in the world.[9] In 2015, the recipient announced that he had successfully conceived a child.[10]

Johns Hopkins program

In December 2015, The New York Times reported that surgeons from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland would soon be performing experimental penis transplantation surgeries on injured veterans, and were optimistic that such surgeries could result in sexual and reproductive function.[11]

See also

In popular culture


  1. Sample, Ian (18 September 2006). "Man rejects first penis transplant". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  6. Mohammadi, Dara (4 October 2014). "The lab-grown penis: approaching a medical milestone". The Observer. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Netto, Joseph (13 March 2015). "Doctors claim first successful penis transplant". CNN. Retrieved 15 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Associated Press (13 March 2015). "Penis transplant successfully performed in South Africa". CBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gallagher, James (13 March 2015). "South Africans perform first 'successful' penis transplant". BBC News. Retrieved 15 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Johnson, John (12 June 2015). "Penis transplant patient has major news for skeptics". Fox News. Retrieved 18 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Grady, Denise (December 6, 2015). "Penis Transplants Being Planned to Help Wounded Troops". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>