Rejoice, peen-having members of this Earth: Doctors from University of Stellenbosch in South Africa successfully completed the world's first purported penis transplant—the patient has made a full recovery and "is sexually active."
The practice is seen as a rite of passage for young South African boys entering manhood including Nelson Mandela. He described the traditional stay in the bush that accompanies the operation in his book Long Walk to Freedom.
However, experts believe that up to 250 initiates lose their penises to amputation each year, and many more suffer horrific disfigurements because of unskilled or unscrupulous practitioners, unsterilised instruments and infection.
Prof. Andre van der Merwe, head of the university's urology department, told Bloomberg that they were able to convince a family to donate a deceased relative's penis after devising "a penis-like appendage on the corpse using a leftover skin flap." "The family is much happier to send the body to the grave with something resembling a penis," van der Merwe said.
Technically, NBC News points out, this is the medical community's second attempted penis transplant: A Chinese man underwent surgery in 2005, but asked to have the penis removed two weeks later "because of psychological problems experienced by him and his wife."
The patient, doctors say, is expected to have full function use of his new member "in about two years."