Popular Science

No, there has not been a successful human head transplant

And the whole story is extremely fishy.
the face of a woman wrapped up in bandages

Body transplant? Head transplant? Neither.

In a 2015 TEDx talk, Sergio Canavero made a bold and tantalizing claim: by 2017, he swore, he would conduct the first human head transplant. And if you’ve been paying attention to trending headlines today, you might think he’s followed through on that promise.

He has not.

Canavero has not completed a successful human head transplant, and it is very unlikely that he will ever do so.

We repeat: No one has completed a successful human head transplant.

Here’s what you need to know:

The claim

Sergio Canavero has popped in and out of medical news for the past several years, but made headlines in 2015 when he found a willing subject for the surgery he hoped to perfect: the human head transplant.

A human head transplant is exactly what it sounds like (except call it a body transplant, but whatever). The patient—likely someone with a degenerative muscle disease—would have their head removed and attached to a donated body. In theory, one could fix just about any physical ailment with this transplantation. If you’d been , you could pop the part of you that makes you onto a fully-functional body. If multiple organs were set to fail, you could get yourself a whole new set instead of trying your luck on transplant waiting lists.

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