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Thomas Manning, a 64-year-old man whose penis was removed because of cancer, has become the first person in the United States to receive a penis transplant in a 15-hour procedure. The organ came from a deceased donor.
Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, who helped lead the surgical team, tells the New York Times that normal urination should be possible for the 64-year-old Manning in a few weeks, with sexual function possible in weeks to months.
FIRST PENIS TRANSPLANT PERFORMED IN UNITED STATES ON CANCER PATIENT
The Times reports Manning had lost most of his penis when it was removed in an effort to halt the progress of an aggressive and potentially fatal penile cancer.
Manning said he experienced hardly any pain during and after the procedure.
Penis transplants are complicated. The organ has many blood vessels and nerve endings, and also must connect the urethra to the bladder and to the prostate inside the body.
Plastic surgeons can perform penile reconstruction using a patient’s own skin but a transplant of an entire organ is more complicated.
The surgery is experimental, part of a research program with the ultimate goal of helping combat veterans with severe pelvic injuries, as well as cancer patients and accident victims.
It took three years of preparation, including operations on cadavers, before the team was ready to perform transplants. The operation on Manning involved about a dozen surgeons and 30 other health-care workers, according to the Times.
“Today I begin a new chapter filled with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries, particularly for our servicemembers who put their lives on the line and suffer serious damage as a result,” Manning said in a statement.
The world’s first penis transplant was performed at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in December 2014.
The patient was a 21-year-old man whose penis was amputated after severe complications from a circumcision during a coming-of-age ceremony.
Doctors waited three months to declare the surgery a success, once his urinary and reproductive functions were restored. In June, the man had impregnated his girlfriend.