A Probably Mad Doctor is About to Transplant a Human Head

Allow me to confess something - The title of this article is entirely misleading, because this doctor doesn't plan on transplanting a human head, but rather an entire human body. That's right, this not-at-all-creepy looking dude above (Dr. Sergio Canavero of Italy) is on a quest to attach a nice functioning body to the head of a man whose current body is failing him.


A Russian named Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from degenerative Werdnig-Hoffman disease, has volunteered his head for Dr. Canavero's literal chopping block.


The questionable Doc is being a little coy about how he's going to accomplish some of the finer points like, say, fusing the spinal cords of two unique individuals, but he has let out with a slew of operational predictions. Here are the numbers :

Hours in Surgery — 36

Doctors and Nurses in Surgery — 150

Years Until Procedure — < 2

Number of Times Someone in Operating Will Caution Everyone to Not Lose Their Head —


A similar procedure was conducted on a monkey in 1970. Things were going pretty well, until the doctors got to the whole spinal cord-fusion portion and the following discussion took place: 

     "I thought you were handling this part, Jim?"

     "No, Steve's got the spinal cord thing on lock."

     And then Steve said in falsetto "Steve's on vacation," and snuck out the back. 

     "I guess we'll just close 'er up then!"

This resulted in a patchwork monkey unable to move, or breath for that matter, on its own. It spent the next eight days in abject misery before the new body completely rejected the head (or the other way around) and both died.

We wish Mr. Spiridonov a much more successful outcome.





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Beautiful art through Biology for the Popular Culture.

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