I feel like hell these days, what with that plumbing scare a couple of weeks ago and the refusal of Old Man Winter to bugger off already. I don’t think, however, that this is quite the cure I’m looking for:
A surgeon says full-body transplants could become a reality in just two years.
Sergio Canavero, a doctor in Turin, Italy, has drawn up plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body and claims the procedures needed to carry out the operation are not far off.
Canavero hopes to assemble a team to explore the radical surgery in a project he is due to launch at a meeting for neurological surgeons in Maryland this June.
Given transplant statistics generally, you have to figure that you’re not going to have much choice in donor bodies.
According to the procedure Canavero outlined this month, doctors would first cool the patient’s head and the donor’s body so their cells do not die during the operation. The neck is then cut through, the blood vessels linked up with thin tubes, and the spinal cord cut with an exceptionally sharp knife to minimise nerve damage. The recipient’s head is then moved on to the donor’s body.
The next stage is trickier. Canavero believes that the spinal cord nerves that would allow the recipient’s brain to talk to the donor’s body can be fused together using a substance called polyethylene glycol. To stop the patient moving, they must be kept in a coma for weeks. When they come round, Canavero believes they would be able to speak and feel their face, though he predicts they would need a year of physiotherapy before they could move the body.
You’re not getting me near polyethylene glycol. I had to drink about a gallon of it before colonoscopy.