Tribute to an Imaginative Idea for Future Head and Central Nervous System Transplants


While highly experienced neurosurgeon Dr Bruce Mathew and I were investigating the potential for human head transplants for patients with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, or other progressive, physically debilitating diseases, in preparation for our science fiction novel, Chrysalis, a potentially transformative idea emerged, namely, why not transplant the whole head and central nervous system of the patient into the donor body of a brain-dead person? This was to be instead of a head-only transplant. It was Bruce who conceived of the head with the rest of the central nervous system (CNS) as forming a “transplantable” entity, which could, in theory, be surgically detached from a diseased body and then re-attached to a suitable donor body. The beauty of this idea is that the CNS would be enveloped by the protective dura mater membrane, which is the outermost tissue protecting the brain and spinal cord.

Dr Bruce Mathew

Here’s how I illustrated Bruce’s imaginative surgical idea in Chrysalis, which described in great detail how to detach the head and CNS of Jerry Fischer, our novel’s hero, in preparation for transfer to a donor body:

Drawing of Jerry’s head and CNS in an enamel bath containing isotonic saline solution and hooked to a by-pass machine.

You can watch a YouTube video “Chrysalis – artwork by Michael J. Lee” showing the drawings which illustrate the concepts in the novel involved in this story of a potential first-ever transplant of a head and CNS!

Please also see the blog “Prospects for Central Nervous System (CNS) Transplants” on the Beyond Heads website for the rationale for such transplants, as well as some discussion about the medical conditions which could benefit in future from this kind of surgery.

Ideas are the magic of human thought and imagination which drive forward human progress, including in the medical sector. I’d like to pay tribute to Bruce’s brilliant concept of future head and CNS transplants to help resolve a number of debilitating physical conditions.

Who knows how incredibly valuable this idea may one day prove to be?

Check out Chrysalis on Amazon and Takealot: