As it turns out, the first and only known penis transplant didn’t really end as happily as it did in Grey’s. The world’s first penis transplant was performed in September 2006 in China on a man who’s penis was turned into a 1 cm stump after a horrific accident. The organ was donated by a brain-dead 22-year-old man’s family but the transplant patient’s body rejected the penis after only 15 days.
Doctors have successfully re-attached men’s penises after they were detached from their bodies but no one has been able to successfully perform a transplant from a donor. Typically, as Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) noted in last night’s episode, patients opt for reconstructive surgery (aka, phallopasty) which doesn’t fully restore the use of the original penis.
Considering that the operation has never been successfully done before, we can understand why the residents of Seattle Grace-Mercy West were so eager to try their hands at the surgery.
Don’t forget to read the full recap of Grey’s Anatomy Season 8, Episode 5: “Loss, Love, and Legacy.”