First penis transplant performed in the U.S., part of experimental trial

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A 64-year-old cancer patient is the first penile transplant recipient in the U.S.

After 15 hours under the knife, surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital say Thomas Manning is recovering well.

The announcement came Monday morning, during a press conference, when doctors called the outcome a "landmark procedure."

Manning's penis was amputated after doctors discovered genital cancer in 2012.

Surgeons intricately attached the new organ from a deceased donor to Manning's penis, connecting all vascular and nerve structures.

Manning told The New York Times he was not ashamed to speak about his ordeal, and never gave up hope. "I want to go back to being who I was," Manning said. "I kept my eye on the prize."

Dr. Dicken Ko led the surgical team, which focused on reconstructing the transplant with a natural shape, and to return urination within a few weeks, and sexual function within a few months.

The experimental surgery is part of a larger mission to, in part, restore genital function to injured combat veterans, who face larger suicide rates once they return home.

"We are hopeful that these reconstructive techniques will allow us to alleviate the suffering and despair of those who have experienced devastating genitourinary injuries and are often so despondent they consider taking their own lives," said Dr. Curtis L. Cetrulo, a reconstructive surgeon, who also operated on Manning.

As soon as more donors are available, other patients are already lining up for penile transplants at Massachusetts General Hospital, including a man whose penis was destroyed in a car crash.

John Hopkins University School of Medicine plans to perform its first penis transplant on a war veteran who was injured in Afghanistan.

The first-ever successful penile transplant took place in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The 21-year-old patient needed the transplant after losing his penis to infection after a botched circumcision.

Six months later, that man impregnated his girlfriend.

As for Manning, doctors say there are no signs of rejection so far and they are optimistic his surgery will be a success - Manning is optimistic too.

"Today I begin a new chapter filled with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries, particularly for our service members who put their lives on the line and suffer serious damage as a result," Manning said in a statement provided by the hospital.

Manning also thanked his medical team, his family, as well as the donor's family.

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