Surgeon claims he's done the first head transplant on a corpse

Sergio Canavero.
Sergio Canavero. Photo credit: Reuters

An Italian neurosurgeon has claimed to have successfully carried out the world's first head transplant.

But there's a catch - neither the donor, nor the recipient, were alive.

Prof Sergio Canavero says it took 18 hours to carry out the surgery, during which he managed to connect the spine, nerves and blood vessels of a head to those of a corpse.

"The first human transplant on human cadavers has been done," he said in a video posted to Facebook.

A scientific paper explaining how he did it is expected to be released in the next few days.

Prof Canavero's next goal is to try it on two brain-dead, but living, donors, followed by a conscious head donor paralysed from the neck down.

For his efforts Prof Canavero has been dubbed by critics 'Dr Frankenstein', in reference to the fictional surgeon who created a monster out of various body parts.