Doctors in a “landmark procedure” have transplanted a penis for the first time in the United States. The Massachusetts General Hospital doctors in Boston have performed the first successful penis transplant and the patient is recovering well after the 15-hour long procedure.
Thomas Manning, who is 64 years old and is a bank courier of Halifax Massachusetts, received the donated organ three years after his penis was amputated. The amputation was done after Manning was detected with penile cancer in 2012. The penis transplant was done by a team of 50 surgeons in 15 hours, with doctors referring to the entire procedure as a “surgical milestone.” Manning is the third man on whom the experimental surgery was performed.
The New York Times quoted Manning, who was happy to be out of bed for the first time after operation, saying, “I want to go back to being who I was.” Manning also said that he hardly experienced any pain.
The surgery was experimental and is part of a research program. The focus of the research program is to help combat veterans with severe pelvic injuries and also cancer patients and accident victims. The procedure is technically called genitourinary vascularised composite allograft (GUVA), stated CNN.
“Surgeons connected the intricate vascular and nerve structures of a donor penis with those of the 64-year-old transplant recipient,” the statement read, simplifying the procedure.
Dr. Dicken Ko, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Regional Urology Program, explained that the primary goal of the surgery is to reconstruct the genitalia. Firstly, it should appear natural and then there should be urinary and sexual functions respectively.
At the same time, Dr. Ko emphasised that though sexual function is one of the goals of the penis transplant, reproduction is not. He explained that it is so because reproduction will bring in ethical issues and also might raise the question of who the potential father may be.
Dr. Curtis L. Cetrulo, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who led the surgery team along with Dr. Ko, said that in identifying a suitable donor, they were assisted by doctors in infectious disease, psychiatry, and social work and with the New England Organ Bank. He informed that it took three and a half years of research for the surgery.
CNN stated that Manning will have to take immunosupressing drugs for the rest of his life to eradicate any possibilities of organ rejection. Both the doctors hope that the process will help them in the treatment of wounded serviceman. They are also optimistic that in the future, it may help in gender reconstruction surgery.
In similar news, in March, the first uterus transplant was carried out in the US but was not successful.