An Italian professor says that the world’s first human head transplant has been successfully performed on a corpse in China.
“The first human head transplant, in the human mode, has been realized,” Sergio Canavero said Friday during a press conference in Vienna, according to The Daily Mail.
“Everyone said it was impossible, but the surgery was successful,” added Canavero, who is director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group.
“We have entered an age where we will take our destiny back in our hands. It will change everything. It will change you at every level.”
The Mail on Friday reported that the operation took 18 hours, with experts demonstrating it is possible to successfully reconnect the blood vessels, nerves and spine of a severed head.
The procedure was carried out by Dr. Xiaoping Ren, who grafted a head onto the body of monkey in 2016.
A full report detailing the Harbin Medical University’s procedure and a timeline for a follow-up live transplant are expected within the next few days.
Canavero said that the group’s next step is to conduct a full head swap between brain dead organ donors.
“And that is the final step for the formal head transplant for a medical condition which is imminent,” he said.
“It will be for a medical, neurological condition, not for life-extension,” Canavero added of plans for a live transplant.
“Given the amount of mean criticism we received I don’t think we should go international. For instance, if you stick to the Frankenstein shtick, which doesn’t make sense, then no.”
Canavero first announced his plans to help perform a live human head transplant in 2015, prompting first debate in the medical world about its viability.
The Mail reported that the first one will likely get carried out on someone from China, where a large amount of volunteers are claimed to have already come forward.
Medical professionals have voiced concern over the idea, with some challenging its chances at success and others questioning its innate morality.