The term "penis transplant" might seem like it should be part of punchline, but, in fact, it's no joke. It's a real procedure that was done successfully for the first time in the United States last week on Thomas Manning.
The 64-year-old, who lost his penis to cancer, is proof of what science and medicine can do to improve people's lives. “I want to go back to being who I was,” he says. The "experimental" surgery, as doctors who performed the procedure at Massachussetts General Hospital still call it, is giving hope to many more like Manning.
And it sounds like many are lining up to take part in the procedure. According to the New York Times, the surgery is part of a research program with the ultimate goal of helping combat veterans with severe pelvic injuries, as well as cancer patients and accident victims.
“They’re 18- to 20-year-old guys, and they feel they have no hope of intimacy or a sexual life. They can’t even go to the bathroom standing up," says Dr. Curtis L. Cetrulo, the plastic and reconstructive surgeon who led the team.
Mass General was the first institution to perform a successful penis transplant, and now surgeons at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are planning to follow suit and have had a combat veteran, injured in Afghanistan, on the waiting list for several months.
The hospitals are paying for the procedures, which cost between $50,000 and $75,000, and the doctors are donating their time.
One penis transplant failed in 2006 in China. The other attempt was performed successfully in 2014 in South Africa — the man was even able to father a child. Obviously, this could be a game changer for all kinds of people.
(Photo: Sam Riley/Mass General Hospital via AP)