Is head transplant surgery possible?

The operation in the sphere of transplanting the head is supposed to be real. Neurosurgeons have already tested the unique technique on dogs, rats and mice - the data, which was received, give the hope that the head transplant surgery can be held next year.

 Sergio Canavero

Let’s recall that Sergio Canavero, a surgeon from Italy, has already started preparations for such an operation. Valery Spiridonov from the Russian Federation, who is believed to be the first patient Russian, suffers from muscular dystrophy. The operation has been already scheduled for the end of 2017. This information was announced in 2015.

Sergio Canavero as well as his Chinese counterpart, surgeon Xiao Ping Ren, continues all the necessary preparations to sustain the head transplant operation. They have already published some articles some of which have become known because of the details of the upcoming operation.

Actions, which were taken by Kanavero, now are widely discussed in the medical and scientific community, many of whom are sharply negative in favor of head transplantation.

A few days ago the results of several studies on animals were published, concerning the information that paralyzed dogs are again able to walk after the operation because of spinal cord injury. If to make a long story short, their spinal cord integrity was restored. Kanavero argues that the same technique will be used for operations in the sphere of transplanting the humans’ head - one of the most important things that should be achieved during the transplantation is that a connection between two spinal cord fragments must be very good. The researchers explained that for the compounds of the damaged spinal cord, they use polyethylene glycol (PEG).

 Sergio Canavero

The operations were carried out not only on dogs, but also on mice and rats. In the experiment, the Korean scientists from Konkuk University, who also collaborated with Sergio Kanavero, injected polyethylene glycol into 8 mice with spinal cord injuries, another group, consisting of eight animals, entered in the control group and scientist injected physiological saline.

After 4 weeks five of the eight animals, which were treated with PEG, so their power of movement was restored, but the same can’t be said about the situation in the control group, power of movement was not observed.

A somewhat different approach was used in experiments on rats: the animals were injected therein modified polyethylene glycol, containing graphene nanoribbons. Such an approach was developed by researchers from the American RiceUniversity. Researchers believe that the addition of a conductive material will largely contribute to the growth of neurons and accelerate the recovery of the spinal cord.

The Korean scientists have introduced an improved PEG (called PEG-Texas), it was injected into five rats immediately after the spinal cord of the rodents was damaged. Another five animals were injected saline. Unfortunately, four of the five experimental animals were killed in the flood in the lab, but the rat, which had a chance to survive, was able to stand again a week after the injury, within two weeks this rat was able to feed and to go. Speaking about the animals from the control group, there was no improvement at all.

 Sergio Canavero

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Critics believe that the successful outcome of surgery on dogs and other animals does not mean that the same approach will work on humans. In addition, they noted that the data which was presented in the article is insufficient to conduct a clearly talk about the success of the future operations. They pointed to the lack of histological data in an experiment with a dog and a small sample in an experiment with rats. The authors have already responded to the claims, saying that in the next article will be posted histological pictures showing the damage to the spinal cord.

The world's first head transplant: exclusive details of the operation, which were discussed after the publication of these articles by Sergio Kanavero, an Italian surgeon.

It is required 100 surgeons for the operation and transplantation itself will last 36 hours.

Head Transplant

A man has appeared to be a programmer Valery Spiridonov who decided on an incredibly dangerous experiment: he will be the first person in the world, which will be cut off the head and transplanted it into a new body. This event is scheduled for December 2017.

In order to be more interesting, we have found out all the details of this complex operation.

According to the authorized person, 30-year-old Valery Spiridonov agreed to become a test subject in the first operation to transplant the head in the world. Even being a child the man was diagnosed - a syndrome Werdnig-Hoffmann Disease. This is a disease when a person has atrophied muscles.


"With this disease people do not live up to twenty years old, and I’m already 30. I find it difficult to put clothes on, I can’t even lift a glass of water on my own, without somebody’s help. I am willing to take the risk, because I could die any day. Modern technology has reached the point due to which it is possible to carry out transplantation of the head. The first attempts to revive the severed heads were carried out in the 40-ies of the last century on the animals, "- said Valery Spiridonov.

Similar experiments were carried out on real dogs and monkeys, but shortly after the animals died. Italian surgeon Sergio Kanavero, which plans to hold a head transplant Valery, first told how to make the operation successful.

For this it is necessary to cool the human brain to 15 degrees to avoid damage to its structure. Then, in the blood vessels of the patient and the donor must enter Hemostatic agents - Heparin. Then the arteries and veins of the head will be stapled to the body of the donor's vessels. The spine will be binded with the head due to metal plates, and electrical stimulation is applied to brain activation.

According to Kanavero’s estimates for the operation they will need 100 surgeons and transplant itself will last 36 hours.

However, the European neurosurgeon Anton Shkiryak from Ukraine says that at the moment the transplantation of the head may not be possible: "The brain dies within minutes. Modern technologies in medicine have not yet reached the level to be able to make a connection between body and the head. The connection of the skin or sew the muscles - is one thing.. because it is more coarse cloth. But neurons do not like each other, they are not uniform in structure. And join them now, unfortunately, it is impossible. "


Anton Shkiryak studied in detail all the articles, written by Sergio Kanavero. He was confident that all the statements of the Italian neurosurgeon - is just a set of theories that have no base and nothing confirmed.

"Thus, at the same time he just has increased his fees, because patients think - if a person can transplant the head, then he - the light of the world of science, and it is precisely possible to entrust their lives," - says Ukrainian neurosurgeon.

Despite the great risk, Valery Spiridonov did not intend to abandon the operation. 50 years ago, a heart transplant was considered to be a sensation, but now thousands of people with a donor's heart live all over the world.

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