World’s First Human Head Transplant Successfully Carried Out

by : Francesca Donovan on : 17 Nov 2017 12:29

In some head-turning news, the world’s first human head transplant has been successfully carried our in an operating theatre in China.

It took surgeons 18 hours to complete the feat of medical engineering, which is now being hailed among the heady heights of surgical excellence.


The operation was carried out on a corpse and has now proved it’s possible to successfully reconnect the spine, nerves and blood vessels.


The operation was carried out by a team at Harbin Medical University led by Dr Xiaoping Ren, who is undoubtedly heads and shoulders above the rest in his field, reports the Telegraph.

Italian Professor Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, announced the success of the team, who he said ‘realised the first human head transplant’.


He added an operation on a live human will take place ‘imminently’.


At a press conference in Vienna Prof Canavero, said:

The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done.

A full head swap between brain dead organ donors is the next stage and that is the final step for the formal head transplant for a medical condition which is imminent.


Dr Sergio Canavero has hoped to perform the world’s first head transplant on Russian Valery Spiridonov, previously announcing his plans in a presentation at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in Annapolis in 2015.


However, earlier this year, 31-year-old Spiridonov, who suffers from a muscle-wasting disease, said he would no longer be volunteering for the ground-breaking operation, adding ‘a weight lifted off my chest’.

Dr Canavero caused more shock this year by saying he intends to attach previously frozen brains of the dead into donor bodies.


Many experts are deeply sceptical – and critical – of his methods, but he claims such brains can be awoken, effectively giving new life to the deceased.

Dr Xiaoping Ren last year successfully grafted a head onto the body of a monkey and has performed 1,000 head transplants on mice, in yet more head-turning news.

WSJ Live

Shadowing him during a 10-hour operation, the Wall Street Journal witnessed a mouse with a new head move and breathe on its own following the procedure, even opening its eyes and drinking.


Who knew we were heading for such a scientific breakthrough.

The mind boggles.

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Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Health


  1. Telegraph

    World's first human head transplant successfully carried out