An Italian surgeon to carry out first ever human head transplant !

Transplantation in a human body might be a reality soon as Sergio Canavero, an Italian surgeon prepares himself to do what no one has ever imagined before. He has recently announced that he would be able to do a human head transplant.

He also has a volunteer ready to risk his life in return of a better one. Valery Spiridonov, who is a 31-year old program manager, suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease that causes atrophy of muscles.

Canavero said that he would be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN ((head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion). But many dismiss Canavero’s plans as fantasy.

In a paper submitted, Canavero explains the whole procedure at length. It will apparently be a 36-hour-long surgery involving, at the very least, 150 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, psychologists and virtual reality engineers. The whole process will cost a whopping $20 million or Rs 133 crores approximately.

Explaining further, Canavero explains to Newsweek that the specially equipped hospital suite will have two surgical teams working in tandem. One that will just focus on the

patient, Spiridonov in this case, and the other that will specifically focus on the donor’s body- a brain-dead patient with physical characteristics and immunotype matching the Russian’s. Both patients will be anesthetized and connected with breathing tubes. Their heads would then be locked used metal clamps and pins. Electrodes would be attached to their bodies to monitor brain and heart activities of both the patients. Spiridnocv’s head would then be completely frozen, brought down to 12 to 15 degree Celsius, making him temporarily brain-dead.

The blood would then be drained off his brain and replaced with standard surgery solution instead. A vasculkar surgeon would then connect sleeve-like tubes made out of silicone and plastic, or Silastic as its commonly known, around the carotid arteries and jugular veins. These tubes would be used to stop and increase blood flow when the head is connected to a new body.

The surgeons would then move on to the most crucial part of the whole process- cleanly chopping through the spinal cord under a microscope with the help of a diamond nanoblade, making thin and precise incisions. Time would be the key from here on.

Once clied out of his original body, Spiridonov’s head would have to be attached to his new body and connected to his blood flow, in no longer than an hour’s time. Air could create blockages, no air can pass into any of the vessels, so the surgeons would have to make sure that the head is completely sealed when the transplant is happening. Surgeons would then sew the arteries and the veins of the patients head to his new body. The donor’s blood flow would then start re-warming Spiridonov’s head to a normal temperature within a matter of minutes.

When people posed a question about the ethics of this all to Spiridonov, he retorted with a question of his own – would you like to be in his shoes? Needing help with defecation, urination, and living a life without sex. The audience didn’t have an answer. He believes he’d rather risk death than live the quality of life he’s living at the moment.

Prapti Shah Gandhi
Peace-lover, creative, smart and intelligent. Prapti is a foodie, music buff and a travelholic. After leaving a top-notch full time corporate job, she now works as an Online Editor for Biotecnika. Keen on making a mark in the scientific publishing industry, she strives to find a work-life balance. Follow her for more updates!