Head Transplant: Brain Surgeon Explains Op

Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero insists an operation to transplant a human head is technically possible, despite opposition from the medical profession.

Dr Canavero outlined his proposal in the scientific journal Surgical Neurology International, claiming the patient will be able to walk within a year of the operation.

He will cool the head of Valery Spiridonov with ice to help the brain survive once it is removed from its former blood supply.

The head will then be cut away and reattached to the donor body in stages.

The biggest challenge will be fusing the spinal cord, something that has never been achieved before.

Dr Canavero says he will drench the two ends of the cord in a chemical called polyethylene glycol.

This may encourage the fatty sheath around nerve cells to stick together.

The blood vessels and muscles would then be stitched into place.

Mr Spiridonov would spend the next three to four weeks in an artificial coma to immobilise his head.

Prior to carrying out the operation, Dr Spiridonov plans to test the technique on brain-dead organ donors.

But he has admitted he may struggle to win ethical approval to carry out the operation in the West.

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