Kenyan doctors reattach boy’s chopped penis in landmark surgery

Mildred Europa Taylor January 31, 2019
Doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital. Pic credit:

A 16-year-old Kenyan boy whose penis was severed following an attack on him last December has been given a second chance after doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) reattached the preserved organ.

This is the first time an operation of this kind has been successfully carried out in the East African country, according to media reports.

It took surgeons at the hospital seven hours to reattach the boy’s organ which got chopped off after the attack at home. The boy, yet to be identified, was attacked by unknown assailants on December 18 in Embu County at around 1 am.

According to local media, Standard Digital, the boy was taken to a nearby health centre where the organ was stored in a freezer before it was transferred to KNH.

“We received the case as a referral from one of the county hospitals at around 9 am on December 19, 2018. His penis had been amputated at the base using a kitchen knife,” Prof Stanley Khainga, who led the team of urologists and plastic surgeons to perform the delicate surgery said.

“After initial examination and resuscitation, we immediately prepared him for theatre where we began the process of re-implantation of the penis,” Khainga added.

The team, which included about 15 specialists, first examined the stump left behind when the manhood was chopped off and realized that it had been dressed to stop the bleeding that occurred soon after the incident.

“It also had minimal soiling, with the blood vessels around the base and urethra, which passes urine, exposed,” Khainga said.

The knife, he added, had sliced clean through the base of the penis in what is medically known as total penile amputation. The team had to restore the penile structures while repairing the vessels, a delicate thing to do considering reports of similar cases across the world where the organ failed to recover its sensory abilities.

Basically, the life-changing surgery involved repairing two veins, two nerves and one artery. This was to ensure that there was blood flow to the reattached part, Khainga explained. “If you do not give it blood supply, the organ will die,” he said, adding that the aim of the procedure was to achieve normal function.

“Our management goal was to restore normal function, which consists of urination, or passing urine, sexual gratification, improved self or body image and reproduction. We also sought to achieve adequate aesthetic appearance or normal appearance of the organ, including length,” he said.

“He has done well and is reporting erections with adequate length. His wounds have also healed.”

The young boy will be due for discharge in two weeks, said the hospital.
Meanwhile, the acting chief executive of KNH, Thomas Mutie said the surgery was a milestone for surgical medicine in the region and a proof of the faith in local specialists.

“Had the patient’s family opted to fly him abroad for the procedure, the organ would not have been viable for surgery by the time they arrived there. It is, therefore, testimony to the fact that there are highly qualified medics in the facility,” Dr Mutie said.

The KNH last year witnessed another mind-blowing incision that saved and transform a life. A 17-year-old boy whose hand was severed by a lawn mower had it reattached at the same facility last February.

Joseph Theuri’s right hand was cut off from the wrist on January 26 when he accidentally turned on the machine while cleaning at home in Kiambaa, Kiambu County, Kenya. The surgery is arguably the first to have been done in Sub-Saharan Africa after the boy was admitted to the hospital with the severed hand in a polythene bag.

The seven-hour surgery was done on the same day of the accident and the procedure included the identification of blood vessels, nerves and tendons, aligning and fixing the bones, repairing and joining the arteries and the tendons. The operation was successful and the blood flow was restored after three hours.

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: February 1, 2019


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