South Africa has a tradition of firsts when it comes to organ transplantation. It has been 48 years since Professor Chris Barnard’s famous first heart transplant in Cape Town South Africa. Now a team of surgeons from Stellenbosch University (SU) and Tygerberg Hospital have proved SA remains at the forefront of medical progress by performing the world’s first successful penile transplant.
In South Africa many young men face losing their penises due to complications from traditional circumcision. Now this ground breaking successful penile transplant may provide respite for some young men.
The ground-breaking operation lasted nine hours and took place on 11 December 2014 making it the first time in history that a successful long-term result has been achieved. It was the second time this type of procedure was attempted.
According to SU, the patient (whose identity is being protected for ethical reasons) has made a full recovery after just three months and has regained all function – both urinary and reproductive – in the newly transplanted organ.
Ulwaluko, traditional circumcision and initiation into manhood, is an ancient initiation rite practiced by the Xhosa. The ritual is traditionally intended as a teaching institution, to prepare young males for the responsibilities of manhood.