The First Head Transplant of Russian Valery Spiridonov (Werdnig-Hoffmann syndrome)

Fact: By the end of 2017, Dr. Sergio Canavero, an Italian neurosurgeon, is set to conduct the first head transplant surgery on 30 year-old, Valery Spiridonov. 

People from the field have voiced their concerns and frustrations over the procedure and more so, over Dr. Sergio Canavero. Some have even stated, rightfully so, that if gone wrong, could cause something worse than death. Valery Spiridonov suffers from a muscle-wasting disease known as “Werdnig-Hoffmann syndrome,” which is named after the two German geneticists who discovered the disease in the turn of the 20th century.

Although 80 percent of the individual cases that suffer from this disease are in the severe range, and that only a rare handful reach adulthood, Valery Spiridonov does not take this project and surgery lightly, nor does his surgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero. Currently, Dr. Canavero has extensively practiced for this procedure all his life, the risks are indeed paramount. Dr. Canavero explains that this surgery does not come without risks, but he believes he has a success rate of 90 percent sure of success rate; a bold statement from a doctor who has not performed this operation on a human yet.

But like many pioneering studies and procedures, they do not come without their scrutiny. This is the same thing doctors and scientists scrutinized when a surgeon conducted the first heart surgery. Now, heart surgery is a common place. The level of detail and care is beyond most people’s understanding. This surgery produces several problematic areas. Just to name a small amount includes blood vessel repair, nerve reconnections, inflammatory responses, blood loss, rejection, keeping the brain alive, neuropathway re-activation, and much much more.

The surgery is expected to take place at the end of 2017. It will require $15 million, 100 surgeons and assistants, and 36 straight man hours.

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