A Russian man named Valeri Spiridonov has volunteered to participate in what could be the world’s first human head transplant. The surgery is being proposed by Dr. Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Turin, Italy. Canavero claims to have overcome all the serious challenges involved in the surgery like the risk of the new head being rejected by the body, or the spinal cord not properly reconnecting. Canavero laid out the challenges and his proposed solutions in a 2014 TEDx talk.
A number of head transplants have been attempted on animals with varying levels of success, but all ultimately ending in death after only a few days. Canavero is working to perform the operation as early as 2017, but despite his confidence in the planned procedure, many members of the surgical community are still skeptical that such a transplant is possible.