March 13, 2015 -- The world's first successful penis transplant has been performed by surgeons in South Africa, Bloomberg News reported Friday.
The 21-year-old recipient has made a full recovery and regained all functions in the transplanted organ. The nine-hour operation was done Dec. 11 by surgeons from Stellenbosch University and Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital, the university said Friday in a statement.
The unidentified patient had his penis amputated three years ago in a life-saving procedure after he developed complications from a traditional circumcision. There are an estimated 250 penile amputations each year in South Africa due to problems with circumcisions, Bloomberg reported.
"Our goal was that he would be fully functional at two years and we are very surprised by his rapid recovery," said Dr. Andre van der Merwe, head of the university's urology division, who led the surgical team.
This was the second time this type of operation was attempted and the first time that lasting results were achieved, the university said.
"There is a greater need in South Africa for this type of procedure than elsewhere in the world, as many young men lose their penises every year due to complications from traditional circumcision," said Van der Merwe.