Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital performed the first U.S. penis transplant, they said Monday, calling it a "landmark procedure."
Thomas Manning, 64, is recovering well after the 15-hour procedure performed by a team of over 50 surgeons, doctors and nurses, this month, according to the hospital. Manning, of Halifax, Massachusetts, had his penis amputated after he was diagnosed with penile cancer in 2012.
The procedure, also described by the doctors as a "surgical milestone," is called a gentitourinary vascularized composite allograft, or GUVCA.
It involves "surgically grafting the complex microscopic vascular and neural structures of a donor organ onto the comparable structures of the recipient."
Put another way, "surgeons connected the intricate vascular and nerve structures of a donor penis with those of the 64-year-old transplant recipient," the hospital said.
Dr. Dicken Ko, director of the hospital's Regional Urology Program, said the objectives of the surgery were primarily to reconstruct the genitalia so that it appeared natural, followed by urinary function and hopefully sexual function. However, Ko added that while sexual function is a goal, reproduction is not, because of a concern surrounding the ethical issues of who the potential father may be.
Although Manning is still healing from the surgery, his doctors said there are no signs of bleeding, rejection or infection, and they are cautiously optimistic that he will regain function. They expect him to leave the hospital in the next three or four days.