Is Human Head Transplant Possible?
A head transplant is an experimental surgical operation involving the grafting of one organism's head onto the body of another. Experimentation in animals began in the early 1900s. As of 2019, no lasting successes have been achieved.
According to a popular Italian neurosurgeon, Sergio Canavero, he and his team are now prepared to conduct the surgery on a living individual. The world's first human head transplant to be performed in China. Canavero estimates the procedure will cost up to $100 million and involves several dozen surgeons and other specialists.
Dr. Canavero is head of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, who claims that a team led by Dr. Xiaoping Ren successfully grafted a head onto the body of a monkey.
But experts have expressed skepticism about Canavero's claim that the procedure - which would involve severing the head of one person and keeping it alive long enough to re-attach it to a headless "donor" body - could be performed on a living person.
Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University's Langone Medical Center, who is Canavero's biggest critic says, Canavero's newest "breakthrough" is "the continuation of a despicable fraud."
Popular opinion about Canavero's plans for head transplantation had been generally negative. Many of these criticisms focus on the state of technology and the timeframe in which Canavero says he will be able to successfully conduct the procedure.
Let's look at the credibility of the claim, and judge for ourselves.