The terminally ill man who is set to become the world’s first head transplant recipient says more details about his extraordinary surgery are to be revealed next month.
Valery Spiridonov, a computer scientist from Russia, is set to undergo the risky procedure next year.
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.
The 31-year-old is wheelchair reliant due to a muscle-wasting disease, known as Werdnig-Hoffman, but the operation would allow him to walk for the first time in his adult life.
Most people with the disease die within the first few years of life, but he is among the 10 percent who survive into adulthood.
He claims his family fully supports his decision to be the first human to undergo such a surgery and said: “If you want something to be done, you need to participate in it.”
Dr. Canavero has named the procedure HEAVEN, which is an acronym for head anastomosis venture.
The cost of the 36-hour operation, which could only be performed in one of the world’s most advanced operating theaters, has been estimated to cost $18,355,400 (£14 million.)
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.
If the operation is successful, the pioneering procedure could give new hope to thousands of paralyzed and physically challenged people.
Mr. Spiridonov is also attempting to raise funds for the surgery himself, by selling souvenir mugs and T-shirts.
He has marketed a range of clocks, coasters, and caps with the logo ‘Desire for Life’ and showing an image of his head on a healthy, muscular body.
The first monkey head transplant was performed 45 years ago, and a basic operation of a mouse was carried out in China recently.
Dr. Robert White transplanted the head of one monkey onto the body of another at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The monkey died after eight days because the body rejected the head. The monkey was unable to breathe on its own.