26/02/2015 11:57 GMT | Updated 26/02/2015 11:59 GMT

Human 'Head' Transplant Could Happen In Two Years

A doctor has made the bold claim that the first human head transplant could take place in as little as two years.

Dr Sergio Canavero has revealed in a paper published in Surgical Neurology International that he believes both technology and surgical expertise has reached a stage where it would be technically possible.

The revolutionary technique would involve severing the head from the old body -- being careful to cut the spinal column cleanly -- and then attaching it to a living donor body. (Some would claim this is actually a 'body' transplant rather than a head transplant, but perhaps we're splitting hairs.)

identity crisis

Once the major nerves and arteries have been rejoined, the spinal column would be injected with polyethylene glyco, a substance that encourages the fat in cell membranes to join.

The patient would then be placed into an induced coma for several weeks while electrodes would be used to stimulate new nerve connections between the head and the body.

This isn't the first time that humans have experimented with the technique, head transplants have been carried out on dogs, monkeys and mice, all with varying degrees of success.

The idea of a head transplant will be deeply uncomfortable for some, for starters the body would have to be alive when then procedure is carried out so there are a number of serious moral questions that need to be asked.

As such Dr Canavero is remaining cautious about the steps forward, promoting discussion around the subject so a true moral consensus can be reached.

"If society doesn't want it, I won't do it. But if people don't want it in the US or Europe, that doesn't mean it won't be done somewhere else. I'm trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you."