BOSTON -- A Boston hospital says a cancer patient has received the first penis transplant in the United States.
Massachusetts General Hospital has confirmed that Thomas Manning of Halifax, Massachusetts, received the transplanted penis in a 15-hour procedure last week. The organ was transplanted from a deceased donor.
The New York Times first reported the transplant Monday.
In a press conference Monday morning, Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, who helped lead the surgical team, said Manning is recovering well from the delicate surgery.
Surgeons on the Massachusetts General Hospital team who performed the transplant on the 64-year-old say blood is flowing to the organ. They say there are no signs of bleeding, rejection or infection, and that they're cautiously optimistic he will regain the function he lost in 2012 when cancer led to an amputation of the penis.
Manning, who was not present at the press conference, issued a statement Monday saying: "Today I begin a new chapter filled with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries."
In an interview, Manning told the Times that he was feeling well and had experienced very little pain, although he was not quite ready to take a close look at the transplant.
Relatives of the donor are opting to remain anonymous. Alexandra Glazier, CEO of the New England Organ Bank, where the donor organ came from, said the family of the donor is praying for the recipient's continued recovery.
Glazier said the family indicates that Manning's well-being is helping them cope as they mourn the loss of their loved one. Other organs donated by the man are helping save "multiple" lives, she said.
Cetrulo told reporters that the penis transplant surgery had three key aims: ensuring the transplanted organ looks natural, is capable of normal urination and eventually can achieve normal sexual function.
He said people who lose their genitals suffer a loss of self-identity, so the transplant will help with psychological healing as well.
The surgery is experimental and is part of a research program aimed at helping combat veterans, cancer patients and accident victims, the Times reported. The paper said the hospital covered the cost of the operation.
Mass General is calling the transplant a "surgical milestone," reports CBS Boston. The hospital refers to the procedure "the nation's first genitourinary vascularized composite allograft transplant."
Surgeons from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine -- which has a successful hand and face transplant program -- are also preparing to perform a penis transplant operation. The planned recipient is a serviceman wounded by a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
"Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have a disproportionate amount of what we call urogenital trauma -- trauma to the penis or testicles -- which is an unfortunate byproduct of the nature of the injuries they sustain because of things like IED explosions," Dr. Joseph Alukal, a urologist and director of male reproductive health at NYU Langone Medical Center and an assistant professor of Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU School of Medicine, told CBS News last year. "It's been far more of an issue with this engagement than what we've ever seen before."
The world's first successful penis transplant was performed in South Africa in December 2014.
The patient in South Africa at patient had his penis amputated three years earlier after complications from a circumcision performed in his late teens.
The university near Cape Town said in announcing the transplant in March 2015 that the 21-year-old patient, whose name was not released, made a full recovering following the nine-hour surgery and regained all function in the transplanted organ. He was later reported to have fathered a child.
A man in China received a penis transplant in 2005. That operation also appeared to be successful, but doctors said the man asked them to remove his new penis two weeks later because of psychological problems experienced by him and his wife.