Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero (pictured above) believes it will be possible to carry out head transplants within the next two years. According to him, the technique that has been available for over 40 years allows the patient’s head be grafted onto a donors healthy body.
The expensive operation that will cost an estimated £7.5million to complete will only be available to paralysed patients and those with incurable illness. A shortage of donors means the treatment will limited to patients with severe illness. And Dr Canavero says he already has a long list of potential patients.
To carry out the delicate operation, the surgeon, from the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group said both heads would be removed at the same time, after which the patient’s body will be glued onto the donor’s healthy body.
There are already groups against the procedure for ethical reasons. According to their argument, if such a patient goes on to have children, they’ll biologically belong to the donor who owns the eggs or sperm as the body belong to them.
“I embrace the concept of spinal fusion and I think there are a lot of areas that a head transplant could be used but I disagree with Canavero on the timing.
‘He thinks it’s ready, I think it’s far into the future,” says William Matthews, chairman of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons.
“He thinks it’s ready, I think it’s far into the future,” he added.
Doctor Harry Goldsmith from California thinks it’s a joke. Even though he has been able to carry out one of the few operations that has allowed a patient with a spinal cord injury to walk again, his reply to doctor Canavero’s innovative surgery: “I don’t believe it will ever happen.”
Read the full article on the UK Daily Mail website.