The first human head transplant has been determined a success by the medical team that performed it on a corpse in China.
Italian doctor Sergio Canavero announced Friday that the transplant of a human head onto a corpse in China was successful and that he would schedule the 18-hour surgery on a living person “within days,” USA Today reported.
Canavero said the U.S. and Europe had been unwilling to host the surgery.
“No American medical institute or center would pursue this, and there is no will by the U.S. government to support it,” he told USA Today.
The procedure is estimated to cost up to $100 million and several dozen surgeons and specialists are involved. The donor’s brain is kept in a state of “deep hypothermia” to keep it from dying or deteriorating until it is reattached, USA Today reported.
Vertebral bones, jugular veins, the trachea, esophagus, and neck must all be reconnected during the surgery.
Georgetown University Medical Center professor James Giordano told USA Today that not enough study has been done to attempt the procedure and that he thought Canavero could benefit patients more by focusing on spinal reconstruction instead of transplants.
Howard University biomedical ethicist Assya Pascalev said there were many unanswered questions about the rights of each person contributing to the transplant, such as who would have the rights to children conceived after the transplant.
“It’s not just about a head adjusting to a new body. We might be dealing with a whole new person,” she said, USA Today reported.
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