Italian neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero is the key expert behind the procedure, and maintains that swapping the head of a donor with a living patient is technically possible with todays technology.
The patient receiving a new body will be 30 year old Valery Spiridonov, a patient who suffers from a genetic muscle wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease.
“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction,” he said. “The only thing I feel is the sense of pleasant impatience, like I have been preparing for something important all my life.”
The plans to push ahead with the head transplant surgery, however, has been met with fierce criticism and opposition from many in the medical community, because of the extreme likelihood that the head transplant procedure will either kill Spiridonov, or leave him unable to move at all after the procedure is complete.
“According to Canavero’s calculations, if everything goes to plan, two years is the time frame needed to verify all scientific calculations and plan the procedure’s details,” he said. “It isn’t a race. No doubt, the surgery will be done once the doctor and the experts are 99 percent sure of its success.”
The stuff of sci-fi? Or a viable, achievable operation? Time will tell.