(Photo: Massachusetts General Hospital)
Thomas Manning has every reason to smile. He didn't have a lot of hope after losing his penis to cancer. But after a 15-hour operation on May 8 and 9 in Boston, he now has a donor penis transplanted.
Some men might feel too embarrassed to speak out about this kind of problem. But Manning isn't holding back. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Manning welcomed questions and said he wanted to speak out publicly to help dispel the shame and stigma associated with genital cancers and injuries, and to let other men know there was hope of having normal anatomy restored.
“Don’t hide behind a rock,” he said.
This kind of operation is enormously difficult. Manning's doctors note that only 2 other penis transplants have been performed, one in China, which failed, and another in South Africa.
The primary goal of penis transplantation in the US is to help the 1,367 veterans who suffered genital injuries in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Times quotes Manning's surgeon Dr. Curtis L. Cetrulo:
Veterans are a major focus of transplant programs in the United States because suicide rates are exceptionally high in soldiers with severe damage to the genitals and urinary tract, Dr. Cetrulo said. “They’re 18- to 20-year-old guys, and they feel they have no hope of intimacy or a sexual life,” he said. “They can’t even go to the bathroom standing up.”
Given the psychological toll, he said, a penis transplant can be lifesaving.