It sounds like something from a horror movie, but a surgeon insists he will carry out the world’s first head transplant next year.
Most surgeons believe the weird operation will not work, but Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero remains confident – and even has a volunteer patient.
Russian software development manager Valery Spiridonov, 31, who suffers from a muscle-wasting disease, has come forward to say he is willing for his head to be put on a new body.
The operation is expected to last 36 hours. First, the Russian’s head will be cooled to 12 degrees celsius, severed from his body and then re-attached to the body of a brain-dead person as soon as possible.
Spridonov would then be kept in an induced coma for three to four weeks while medic attempt to get his spinal cords to reconnect and start working again.
Valery Spridonov wants to be the first head transplant patient
The operation has been carried out on monkeys – but they died soon afterwards. Undeterred, some of those monkey medics will be among the 100 staff assisting Canavero with his operation, which he intends to carry out towards the end of 2017.
He does have some encouraging support from the medical community, including Dr. Michael Sarr, professor emeritus of surgery at the Mayo Clinic, who claimed that while the operation was risky, experiements had shown reconnected spinal cord nerves could function.
Indeed, Canavero predicts that Spiridonov will not only live happily with his new body, but be walking again within 12 months.