The man who is preparing to have the world’s first head transplant has claimed the prospect does not worry him, and that “we are making science.”
Valery Spiridonov met the doctor who plans on transplanting his head for the first time on Friday at the meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero wants to transplant Russian Spiridonov’s head onto a different body by 2017 and said he believes his patient will have a 90 per cent chance of survival.
So far, the pair have only talked via video chat about the plan.
Spirodonov, 30, has a muscle wasting disease Werdnig-Hoffman. He told reporters in an interview on Friday that he was not worried about the transplant and that he and the doctor were “making science.”
“If it goes good, I think I will get rid of the limits which I have today and I will be more independent and this will much improve my life,” Spiridonov said.
Canavero told the Maryland conference that he expects wheelchair-bound Spiridonov to be walking within a year of receiving his new body.
He outlined his plan to his peers, many of whom have been sceptical since he announced his intentions.
His patient’s head will be cooled before being cut off and reattached in stages, Sky reported. Fusing the spinal cord back together will be, he said, the biggest challenge. This has never been achieved before.
The procedure should take 36 hours and call for a team of 100 medical workers. Afterwards, if he survives the operation, Spiridonov will spend three to four weeks in an artificial coma.
However, the logistics of where to perform the operation could prove tricky, as Canavero admitted getting ethical approval from Western authorities could be a struggle.