There are transplants made possible for anything these days. It only seems natural that scientists would be thinking about head transplants. It may seem difficult, if not impossible, but believe it or not, scientists have been experimenting with head transplants since the 1950s. Though ONE Brain and Spine Center does not perform such surgery, the team frequently handles cases of paralysis and brain damage. By following research and communicating this education to patients, Dr. Burak Ozgur and the ONE team hopes to improve treatment options. Located in Irvine, ONE Brain and Spine Center offers the best brain and spine treatments to the residents of surrounding California areas.
Russian scientist, Vladimir Demikhov, was probably the first to give this surgery a try. In the late 1950s, Demikhov experimented head transplants on dogs. Later, in the 1970s, Robert White, an American neurosurgeon, led a successful head transplant surgery on two monkeys. The monkey who received the transplant lived for several days, but eventually died because the spinal cords were not connected.
Since then, no one has attempted any further experimentation. This may be because a procedure has not been produced that could properly connect two spinal cords. Dr. Sergio Canavero, an Italian neuroscientist, says that advancements in technology exist to make the procedure possible.
Dr. Canavero’s head transplant development connects the spinal cords together, called the GEMINI procedure. The spinal cords would be cut with a very thin, sharp knife, the fused together with polyethylene glycol. Dr. Canavero says “PEG [polyethylene glycol] is easy to administer and has a strong safety record in man.”
Popular Science, a “new technology and science news” portal, states that a head transplant would involve enormous complications. It would connecting not just the spinal cord, but also bones, tissue, and nerve endings. Each head would have to be cut at the exact same moment and be required to be the accurate size to fit in place.
Though the GEMINI procedure is years away from being utilized, Dr. Canavero, and neurologists around the world are hopeful and anxious. It won’t be cheap either! Dr. Canavero estimates the procedure to cost around 13 million dollars.
Breakthroughs in neuroscience technology offers great hope for people who suffer from brain injuries and the physicians who treat them. The medical staff at ONE is hopeful that advancements for brain and head injuries will offer new treatment options.
ONE Brain & Spine Center is the premier spine and brain center in Irvine, California, offering minimally invasive spine surgeries and minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries. For more information or to make an appointment, please call (949) 383-4190.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.