World’s First Head Transplant to Take Place Next Year

By: | August 27th, 2016

Image courtesy CEN

The first ever human head transplant is expected to take place in December 2017. Valery Spiridonov, a 31-year-old computer scientist from Russia, is going to be the first person to undergo a head transplant.

He suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular atrophy, also known as Werdnig-Hoffman, which is usually associated with problems in moving, breathing, and swallowing.

Spiridonov is severely handicapped and is set to volunteer as a guinea pig for this risky operation. The body on which Spiridonov’s head will be transplanted would come from a transplant donor who is classified brain dead but otherwise healthy.

Italian surgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero will do this risky operation. The transplant is expected to take 36 hours and will involve over 150 doctors and nurses. The operation will be performed in one of the world’s most advanced operation theatres, and is estimated to cost £14 million.

This controversial operation will involve severing the heads of both donor and patient from their spinal cord at the same time, using an ultra-sharp blade.

The patient’s head would be attached to the donor’s body using polyethylene glycol. After stitching up the muscles and blood supply, the patient will be kept in a medically-induced coma for four weeks.

Although this transplant involves lots of risks, if successful, it would give new hope to thousands of paralyzed and disabled people.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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