There’s a big debate as to whether its a head transplant or a body transplant.
31 year old Valery Spiridonov is set to become the world’s first head transplant recipient. The terminally ill man is set to undergo the risky procedure next year.
Valery Spiridonov is a computer scientist from Russia. He is wheelchair reliant due to a muscle-wasting disease.
Mr Spiridonov says he is ready to put his trust in controversial surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero who claims he can cut off his head and attach it to a healthy body.
Neither the exact date or location have been chosen yet, but the world first procedure is aimed to take place in December 2017.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Spiridonov said: ‘I continue the dialogue with Mr Canavero, we exchange information and as far as I know, he is preparing a portion of news this September.’
Severely handicapped, Mr Spiridonov received worldwide coverage when he volunteered as a guinea pig for the operation.
He suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman, also known as spinal muscular atrophy, which can result in problems moving, breathing and swallowing.
Most people with the disease die within the first few years of life, but he is among the 10 per cent who survive into adulthood.
His condition is worsening every day, and he says he wants the chance of having a new body before the disease kills him. He revealed that his family fully supports his decision.
The new body would come from a transplant donor who is classified brain dead but otherwise healthy.
Dr Canavero has named the procedure HEAVEN, which is an acronym for head anastomosis venture. Anastomosis involves the surgical connecting of two parts.
The cost of the 36-hour operation, which could only be performed in one of the world’s most advanced operating theatres, has been estimated to cost £14 million.
And he insists all of the necessary techniques to transplant a head onto a donor body already exist.
Both donor and patient would have their head severed from their spinal cord at the same time, using an ultra-sharp blade to give a clean cut.
The patient’s head would then be placed onto the donor’s body and attached using what Dr Canavero calls his ‘magic ingredient’ – a glue-like substance called polyethylene glycol – to fuse the two ends of the spinal cord together.
The muscles and blood supply would be stitched up, before the patient is put into a coma for four weeks to stop them from moving while the head and body heal together.
When they wake the patient should be able to move, feel their face and even speak with the same voice.
Powerful immunosuppressant drugs should stop the new body from being rejected.
Critics say Dr Canavero has simplified the difficulties involved in reattaching a spinal cord and said his plans are ‘pure fantasy’.
But if the operation is successful, the pioneering procedure could give new hope to thousands of paralysed and disabled people.
Additional reporting by Daily Mail