Suffering from Werdnig-Hoffman muscle wasting disease, 30-year-old Valeri Spiridonov has offered himself to be the first head-transplant recipient. The controversial procedure would involve cutting off his head and placing it on a healthy donor body.
Canavero calls the procedure ‘HEAVEN’ – an acronym for head anastomosis venture. Anastomosis is the term used to describe the surgical connecting of two body parts. He explained that modern science already has all the necessary techniques to transplant a head on to a donor body. It involves severing the heads of both the donor and the patient at the same time, using an ultra-sharp blade for a clean cut. The patient’s head would then be placed on the donor’s body and attached using a ‘magic ingredient’ – a glue-like substance called polyethylene glycol. This glue is expected to fuse the two ends of the spinal cord together.
Later, the muscles and blood supply would be stitched up, and the patient placed in a coma for four weeks so that the head and body can heal together. When the patient wakes up, they should be able to move, feel their face and even speak with their original voice. In order to stop the head from rejecting the new body, powerful immunosuppressant drugs would be used.
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