RT – Italian neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero has announced that a Chinese patient will receive the world’s first head transplant in December 2017 – if the surgeon can receive the funding and approval.
Canavero told the Times of India that the technology and team to perform the surgery is ready, meaning funding and ethical approval are the remaining hurdles to the potentially ground-breaking operation.
He also optimistically suggested that the patient could be up and walking again within a year of the extraordinary surgery.
“We’re looking at a date around Christmas 2017 to perform the transplant in China. The Chinese team has already experimented on human cadavers to hone the technology,” Dr. Canavero revealed.
Canavero said his first patient will be Chinese despite previously suggesting it would be Valery Spiridonov, a Russian tech scientist who suffers from a rare muscle-wasting disorder. Canavero had pointed out that Spiridonov could not receive a donor body in China due to biological and ethical reasons.
The surgery is inherently high-risk, but Canavero believes the operation’s success lies in cooling both the donor and the recipient down to 12 degrees Celsius (53 Fahrenheit) so that cells do not die of oxygen starvation during the procedure.