Team Selected to Perform First Human Head Transplant

By James O Malley on at

Yes, you read that correctly – no need to screw your noggin on any tighter. There really are plans being drawn up (presumably by a wacky, circular saw-wielding loon) to attempt to take a head from one body, and stick it onto another.

The Indy reports that Radical Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero is the doctor behind the operation, which is expected to take place in 2017.

The operation will apparently cost $11m and take 36 hours and the Indy tells us that "The transplanted parts will then be stuck together with glue and stitches", which makes it sound more like a craft project than an operation.

The lucky recipient is expected to be Russian man Valery Spiridonov who suffers from Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, which wastes away muscle. So a new body could be just what he needs. The only problem is that there's a fairly significant chance of death on the operating table.

Apparently the plan is to put him into a coma for a month after the operation and pump him with drugs to try to ensure that his head doesn't reject his new body.

What makes the whole enterprise slightly dodgy (I mean, if it doesn't already sound dodgy) is that apparently there are also worries that as the operation is due to take place at the Harbin Medical University in China that the donor body could end up being that of an executed prisoner, because the country has a rather more relaxed approach to harvesting the organs of prisoners than we do over here.

We're presuming that if the operation doesn't go to plan then heads will roll. [Independent]