Although this is the third time that a penis transplant has been performed, it is still risky. Van der Merwe recalled years of painstaking research and careful experimentation before he attempted surgery on a live patient, according to the Daily Mail.
This kind of surgery, which is drastically different than a kidney or liver transplant, borrows techniques from facial or hand transplants. These procedures require the reattachment of blood vessels, veins, and arteries. Even in best case scenarios, patients will be subjected to a lifetime of immunosuppressant drugs.
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However, Van der Merwe’s groundbreaking operation is considered a great success in the medical community. His patient is expected to regain urinary and reproductive functions within six months, and the color issue between the organ and the recipient can be fixed within eight months.
Numerous men could benefit from a surgery like this; botched circumcisions frequently occur in countries where medical standards and hygiene are lacking. Van der Merwe hopes that the success of his procedure could eventually be extended to men who have lost their penises from cancer.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health