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Cancer survivor receives first US penis transplant


05-17-2016 06:22 BJT

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WASHINGTON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. hospital said Monday it has performed the nation's first penis transplant on a man whose penis was removed due to cancer.

Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) said in a statement that the 15-hour operation took place earlier this month and involved surgically grafting the complex microscopic vascular and neural structures of a donor organ onto the comparable structures of the recipient.

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

Surgeons who performed the transplant, led by Curtis Cetrulo and Dicken Ko, however, are cautiously optimistic Manning will regain function that he lost in 2012 when a diagnosis of penile cancer led to an amputation of the penis.

Due to confidentiality, the identity of the deceased donor will not be released.

Cetrulo and Ko together began researching the possibility of performing a penis transplant in 2012, which they said aims to reconstruct external genitalia to a more natural appearance, re-establish urinary function, and potentially achieve sexual function.

"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," said Cetrulo, of the MGH Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Transplant Center.

"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," added Ko, who directed the MGH Urology Regional Program. "We are delighted to have taken the first steps to help those patients who have suffered silently for far too long."

Manning, the patient, issued a statement, saying: "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."

The world's first penis transplant was performed on a Chinese patient in 2005. Unfortunately, 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.

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