An unnamed black man, 40, from South Africa, who had a white penis transplant in April, has stated he will eventually have it tattooed black to match his skin color. The man lost his own penis as the result of a routine circumcision operation 17 years ago.
The New York Daily News reported that the penis transplant operation was only the third time ever that such an operation has been performed successfully. It was the second time a successful penis transplant3 was performed by a team of South African doctors from the Tygerberg Academic Hospital and from Stellenbosch University.
The South African man has plans to get his new white penis medically tattooed so that its skin color will match the color of the rest of his skin. Usually, medical tattooing is done in order to disguise skin imperfections, like vitiligo, or loss of pigment which causes there to be patches of white-colored skin.
In a news release, the doctors who performed the penis transplant5 surgery stated that the “color discrepancy” between the transplant recipient’s skin and the donor’s penis would be “corrected with medical tattooing.” That will not happen, though, until the recipient undergoes a healing process, maybe “six to eight months” down the road.
The penis transplant6 operation took place “over nine hours.” The recipient of the surgery was reportedly overcome with emotion and happiness afterward. Prof. Andre van der Merwe said that the recipient could not believe that he had a penis again “after 17 years.” Van der Merwe said that the man was one of the ward’s “happiest patients” ever seen.
Within six months, the recipient of the penis transplant7 is expected to regain all reproductive and urinary functions of the penis, and full sensation. Van der Merwe said the team of doctors expects that the man will “have normal erections” and that he will be able “to have normal sexual intercourse.”
According to the Daily Star, Van der Merwe stated the recipient of the penis transplant8 had been depressed and “was even suicidal” before he received the new organ, because he was afraid about what would happen if he got into a romantic relationship with a woman and the subject of sex came up. He mentioned that this will be the first time that medical tattooing will be necessary because in the other two cases, the skin colors of the recipients and donors had matched up.
According to the New York Post, Van der Merwe said of the third successful penis transplant9 recipient that “he can get erections already,” and that there have not been any signs of rejection. He said that the “reconnected structures” appear to be healing well.
One person who specializes in medical tattooing, Rosemarie Andlauer, stated that tattooing the recipient’s penis would require delicate work. She said that she would not be comfortable tattooing the entire penis in one sitting, as there should be time for it to heal after parts of it are done. Andlauer stated she would likely “do lengthwise, probably one-third at a time.”
The first successful penis transplant10 in the world was performed by the same team of South African doctors in December 2014. Over two years after the operation was performed, the recipient said he is doing well and Van der Merwe said that the man’s “urinary and sexual functions have returned to normal.” Van der Merwe added that the recipient has all but forgotten he has even “had a transplant.”
The second successful penis transplant11 surgery was performed in Boston at the Massachusetts General Hospital in May 2016.
In South Africa there are more incidents of botched circumcisions than anywhere else “in the world.” Annually, there are roughly “250 partial and complete amputations” of penises in South Africa, due to botched circumcisions.
According to Van der Merwe, the main reason why there are have not been more penis transplant12s performed in the world is because there are not a lot of people willing to donate their penises when they die. He stated that there have not been very many penis transplant13s done since 2014 “mostly due to a lack of donors.”
In April, the third successful penis transplant14 surgery was performed in South Africa, by the same team of doctors that performed the first one, back in December 2014. Last month, a black man had a white man’s penis transplan15ted to his body. The recipient of the organ is expected to fully recover in about six months and be able to use the penis to urinate standing up and have sex. He eventually plans to have it tattooed to match his own skin color.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Stellenbosch University