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First human head transplant in 2017?

Transplantation of tissue — including organs — from one human (or nonhuman) to another is an amazing advance in medicine that has now saved many lives. Complex organs including the heart and liver are now routinely transplanted, and in many cases even quite complex severed nerves can be reattached.

Much more audacious is the possibility of transplanting a human head. (Or should it be considered a full-body transplant?) The difficulties are obviously daunting: not just the spine, but major arteries, throat, etc., must all be reattached while keeping the brain alive.

Nonetheless, this procedure has been seriously proposed by Dr. Sergio Canavero, who currently claims that he will attempt a head transplant in 2017 on a Chinese man if he is given permission (and funding). See this summary for more details, as well as an additional piece on the (low) likelihood of the operation's success.

By the end of 2017, will a human head transplant operation be performed?

Resolution is positive regardless of the survival of the patient after the operation. (We may later launch a conditional sister question about the survival probability.)


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