The 21-year-old patient had his penis amputated three years ago after a botched circumcision at a traditional initiation ceremony.
In a nine-hour operation at the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, he received his new penis from a deceased donor, whose family were praised by doctors.
“We’ve proved that it can be done – we can give someone an organ that is just as good as the one that he had,” said Professor Frank Graewe, head of plastic reconstructive surgery at Stellenbosch University.
“It was a privilege to be part of this first successful penis transplant in the world.”
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Doctors say the man, whose identity has not been disclosed, has made a full recovery since the operation on December 11 and had regained all his urinary and reproductive functions.
Professor Andre van der Merwe, head of Stellenbosch University’s urology department and leader of the South African surgical team said: “We are very surprised by his rapid recovery.”
Circumcisions are performed on boys and young men as a rite of passage to adulthood in some rural parts of South Africa.
Stellenbosch University said experts had estimated that there could be as many as 250 penis amputations a year in the country because of botched circumcisions. The university said it was planning for nine more patients to receive penis transplants.
In 2006, a Chinese man had a penis transplant but his doctors removed the organ after two weeks due to “a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife”. – AFP, Sapa