Head Transplant Procedure To Cost $13 Million

By @vitthernandez on
Organ Transplantation
Surgeons perform an operation. Reuters

The science community is waiting if Italian doctor Sergio Canavero’s promise to perform the world’s first head transplant would take place in 2017. The procedure offers to extend the lives of people with extreme body injuries by keeping their heads alive.

Besides questions if such procedure is medically feasible, there are also ethical issues as well as the high cost, reports Kickerdaily.com. The head transplant is expected to cost $13 million, which limits the procedure only to wealthy people.

Canavero, who is connected with the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, proposed head transplantation in 2013. In the February issue of the Surgical Neurological International journal, the group explained the surgical techniques it would use.

The procedure involves slicing the head from one person, stitching it to the decapitated head of another person. It would require cooling the head and donor body to prevent cell death. Using a super sharp blade, the spinal cords would be cut in a clean manner for better fusion of the nerve fibres.

Then the patient would be kept in coma for weeks. This is to prevent body movement which could interfere with the healing process.

However, medical experts disagree with Canavero. University of California clinical professor of neurological surgery Dr Harry Goldsmith said there are so many loopholes in the procedure provided by Canavero. New York University bioethicist Dr Arthur Caplan agrees with Goldsmith’s assessment.

The man willing to be Canavero’s guinea pig is Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old Russian computer scientist born with Werdnig-Hoffman disease. It is a genetic disorder that causes wasting of muscles which resulted in Spiridonov born disabled, reports Redflagnews.com.

He said that he is willing to go through the procedure not because he does not have a life due to his disease but because science is there for people like him willing to take risks.

Spiridonov added that he also has limited choices. If he does not undergo the procedure, he will have to live a life where his physical state gets worse every year.

Canavero, who wants his first patient to be someone suffering from a muscle-wasting disease, calls the procedure HEAVEN for head anastomosis venture.

To contact the writer, email: v.hernandez@ibtimes.com.au