Stranger Than Fiction
It sounds like something out of Futurama, but the reality of human head transplants is closer than you might think. So close, in fact, that one man has already willingly volunteered for the first surgery.
31-year-old Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular atrophy called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease. Though he has lived much longer than most born with his condition, life has been difficult, and the muscle disorder remains fatal.
Knowing all of this, Spiridonov is taking a major risk with his final chance at life: a groundbreaking procedure at the hands of an Italian doctor some have called a mad scientist. Here’s what the surgery entails…
What would you do?
The World’s First Head Transplant
Stating that “My decision is final and I do not plan to change my mind,” Spiridonov has been in contact with Italian physician Dr. Sergio Canavero, the man behind the controversial HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) procedure.
Canavero is in the process of crowdfunding for the procedure, which he plans to present to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons this June. The surgery, which the doctor says could take place in 2017, would take 36 hours and require 150 doctors and nurses.
Of course, Spiridonov and Canavero can’t do this alone. They would need the healthy body of a brain dead patient that could be surgically attached to the Russian man’s head. Among the many difficulties facing this operation, which some are calling a Frankenstein experiment, the doctor will have to perfectly fuse the spinal cords and jugulars together. But the danger doesn’t stop there.