Chinese and Italian Doctors Talk About Doing a Head Transplant


OMAHA, Nebraska. Two doctors, one from China and the other from Italy have become more vocal about pioneering a human head transplant. The grisly surgery, they claim, would give a living patient whose body is suffering from a degenerative disease the chance to get a new body, while allowing a person who suffered deadly traumatic brain injury the ability to donate their body. Would you donate your body for this purpose?

The surgery has many ethicists concerned for a variety of reasons. According to Vox, the surgeons plan to perform the procedure in China because European and American hospitals won’t let it happen on their soil. Yet, critics claim that the procedure has not been studied properly enough, nor is there any evidence that such a procedure would be effective. However, if such a procedure were to occur—and be successful—it could raise serious ethical questions.

The doctors claim that not only can they implant a human head, but that they can heal the severed spinal cord in the process—something which remains unproven given the state of current medical science. Because of the great risk that a head transplant would entail, many believe that performing a head transplant would be the same as murdering the head transplant patient—an egregious act of medical malpractice.

Research indicates that our bodies play a large role in our sense of self—from our gut feelings to our heartache, new research has shown unique ways that our brains interact with our hearts and our stomachs. In fact, we each have an extensive nervous system in our guts which uses the same neurotransmitters present in the brain. This is why new research is being done on holistic healing after serious injury, looking at the ways serious injuries affect the whole body—from the brain to the injured body part. Serotonin, the chemical that regulates mood, has been found to be 95% present in the gut, not the brain.

There are other difficulties to such a procedure as well. According to Popular Science, the brain starts to die within one minute of losing its blood supply. How would doctors prevent blood loss to the brain during a transplant? Transplant patients must also take drugs to prevent their bodies from rejecting the transplant. It isn’t clear how a brain or head might react to having a whole new body.

The idea of head surgery is fascinating as it is alarming. As it stands, patients who suffer serious injuries or debilitating medical conditions are better helped by rehabilitation and traditional medical procedures. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, it is important to get the proper medical care you need and deserve. Rensch & Rensch are accident lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska who are closely watching as new technology develops to treat the seriously injured. The costs of medical care to families and victims can be expensive. However, the law offers protections to victims and their families. If you have questions about your rights after an accident, visit us at to learn more.


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