Thomas Manning, a man whose penis was removed because of cancer has received the first penis transplant in the United States, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The 64-year old bank courier from Halifax, Mass, got the organ from a deceased donor and underwent the 15-hour transplant operation on May 8 and 9.
The team of surgeons who performed the transplant, led by Curtis Cetrulo and Dicken Ko, said it was an uncharted waters for them as the surgery is an 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. Dr. Cetrulo said:
“We are hopeful that these reconstructive techniques will allow us to alleviate the suffering and despair of those who have experienced devastating genitourinary injuries and are often so despondent they consider taking their own lives.”
Dr. Ko said:
“These proof-of-principle cases will help establish the techniques used in this procedure and will forge the path to future treatment of patients with significant pelvic and genitourinary tissue loss related to cancer, trauma or infection. We are delighted to have taken the first steps to help those patients who have suffered silently for far too long.”
They were cautiously optimistic that if all goes as planned, normal urination should be possible for Mr. Manning within a few weeks, and sexual function in weeks to months.
The patient, Mr. Manning welcomed questions and said he wanted to speak out publicly to help dispel the shame and stigma associated with genital cancers and injuries, and to let other men know there was hope of having normal anatomy restored.
“Today I begin a new chapter filled with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries, particularly for our service members who put their lives on the line and suffer serious damage as a result,” he said.
Two similar operations have been accomplished in China and South Africa. The world’s first penis transplant was performed on a Chinese patient in 2005. The patient reportedly asked for the organ to be removed after only a few weeks because of apparent psychological rejection.
The second such transplant was conducted on a South African man whose penis had been amputated because of a botched circumcision. This operation was reportedly a success and the recipient was said to recently become a father.