For the second time in history, medical experts from Tygerberg Academic Hospital have teamed up with surgeons from Stellenbosch University (SU), to perform another successful penis transplant.

The surgery which lasted for 9 hours was led by the Head of Urology Department of University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), Prof André Van der Merwe at Tygerberg Hospital Cape Town on April 21st. The team performed the procedure on a 40-year-old anonymous recipient who lost his organ at the age of 23, due to complications arising from a traditional circumcision.[wp_ad_camp_1]

Speaking shortly after the operation, Prof. Van der Merwe confirmed that the patient was no doubt in good condition and very happy with the outcome of the transplant. He described the patient as the happiest patient in the ward and reiterated that there is no indication of failure because all reconnect parts are regenerating and repairing fast. The organ is thus expected to start performing all its physiological features such as urinary and reproductive functions in six months from the date of the transplant, while the color variation from the recipients and the donor organ will be normalized through tattoo therapy between six and eight months from the transplant date.[wp_ad_camp_1]

Speaking on the successful procedure, the Dean of FMSH, Prof Jimmy Volmink stated that the accomplishment of the transplant team is an actual confirmation of the high level of skill and expertise in the South African public health sector. He maintained further that the team’s ability to balance compassionate and ethical patient care along with the efficient use of limited resources is commendable.

In his speech, the Health Minister of Western Cape – Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo said that the procedure is remarkable. He congratulated the team of surgeons who performed the operation. He decried the rate at which traditional circumcision has led to the death of many young South Africans, and stressed that life would never be the same for the patient from henceforth.[wp_ad_camp_1]

Also speaking on the accomplishment, Dr. Amir Zarrabi of the Urology Department of the FMSH, who also participated in the surgical procedure as a member of the medical team described the penis transplant as an act of giving new life to patients. This, he said is because, without the organ, the patient cannot live a happy and normal life without psychological and emotional tensions.


Dr. Alexander Zühlke, who heads the FMHS’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, in his speech, expressed his delight in the success of the surgery and stressed that it feels so good to a be part of the team that performed the two successful penis transplants.

Van der Merwe and his team in December 2014 performed the first ever successful penis transplant, and according to the surgeon, two years after the surgery, the patient is living a healthy life. His urinary and reproductive functions are stable, and there have not been any complications reported so far, and the patient has almost forgotten that he had an organ transplant.

Male genital mutilation is more rampant South Africa than any other country in the world. This is as a result of complications arising from male circumcision, which is carried out as a traditional ritual required by certain cultures for young men to transit into full blown adults. Though there is no accurate record of the number of penile mutilation that occurs in the country every year, experts say that at least 250 cases of partial or complete penile amputations, which sometimes lead to suicide, occur in the country every year.

Van der Merwe expressed the willingness and commitment of Tygerberg Hospital in providing an affordable solution for these men to get a penile transplant in the country. He said that the first operation gave them the experience they needed to cut cost and arrive at the same impressive result. He, however, stated that it was a challenge to get willing donors. He thanked the family of the donor, who benevolently donated the penis and other organs of their late son to the humanitarian cause of saving lives.



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