Russian Man Volunteers for World’s First Head Transplant

head transplant

At age 30, Valery Spiridonov is wasting away thanks to the progressive deterioration of his body – a terminal disease that will kill him sooner or later, leaving him few alternatives to an unorthodox procedure: a full body transplant.

Surgeon Sergio Canavero has already made waves by proposing such a possibility was not too far off in the future, and now he has a patient willing to give the surgery a shot.

head transplant surgery

A physically-living but brain-dead patient is needed, and polyethylene glycol to facilitate the reconnection of spinal chords – semi-successful variants on this have been achieved with other species, but never with people, at least not to date.

head transplant surgeon

This patient knows the risks, too. “Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am. But it is not just very scary but also very interesting … you have to understand that I don’t really have many choices. I am now 30 years old, although people rarely live to more than 20 with this disease.” The surgery will cost millions and has raised skepticism in the medical community, but for someone with no alternatives, any chance may be better than none at all.

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See more in Medical Marvels or under Science. April, 2015.