Man receives new penis in first such transplant in the US

Mr Thomas Manning received a new penis from a donor after his own was removed in 2012 due to cancer. Doctors hope he will be able to regain full penile functionality within months.
Mr Thomas Manning received a new penis from a donor after his own was removed in 2012 due to cancer. Doctors hope he will be able to regain full penile functionality within months.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

WASHINGTON • A US hospital has performed the nation's first penis transplant on a man whose organ was removed due to cancer.

The 15-hour surgery took place earlier this month at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and is the third such operation known in the world.

"The patient, Thomas Manning, 64, of Halifax, Massachusetts, continues to recover well, with blood flow established to the donor organ and no signs of bleeding, rejection or infection," the hospital said in a statement on Monday.

"While the patient is still early in the post-surgical healing process, his physicians say they are cautiously optimistic he will regain function that he lost in 2012" after a penile cancer diagnosis led to most of his penis being amputated. The penis came from a dead donor who matched Mr Manning's blood type and skin tone.

If all goes as planned, normal urination should be possible for Mr Manning within a few weeks, and sexual function in weeks to months, said Dr Curtis Cetrulo, a leader of the surgical team.

"I want to go back to being who I was," Mr Manning said in an interview last Friday in his hospital room with the New York Times. Sitting up in a chair, he said he felt well and experienced hardly any pain.

He expressed his gratitude to the donor and his family, which has asked to remain anonymous, and said he wanted to go public with his story to eliminate the shame and stigma associated with the loss of a penis.

"In sharing this success, it's my hope we can usher in a bright future for this type of transplantation," Mr Manning said in a statement.

He said doctors discovered he had a rare form of penile cancer in 2012. After removing the tumour, he was left with a stump about 2.5cm long.

Mr Manning had to sit in order to urinate and was fearful of becoming intimate with a woman.

"I wouldn't go near anybody. I couldn't have a relationship with anybody," he was quoted as saying.

The first penis transplant in the world took place in China in 2006, but it was later removed due to "a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife", doctors said.

The world's first successful penis transplant was announced last year in South Africa. The donated organ was grafted onto a 21-year-old man who lost his penis in a botched circumcision.

NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Man receives new penis in first such transplant in the US'. Print Edition | Subscribe