Michael Schumacher will undergo a stem cell operation in the coming days in a bid to regenerate his nervous system, six-and-a-half years after his devastating skiing accident.
The 51-year-old suffered the horrific brain injury in 2013 and has undergone several operations since as doctors attempt to help a recovery.
His physical state is closely guarded by his loved ones, although movement and communication remains difficult for the Formula One legend after the accident left him in a coma for six months.
The latest operation will be carried out by French professor and cardiologist Dr Philippe Menasche, according to reports in Italy, and will see damaged cells replaced with healthy ones.
Menasche is known as a pioneer in stem cell surgery.
The healthy cells are harvested from bone marrow or blood and the operation is described by Italian publication Contro Copertina as ‘part experimental.’
French newspaper Le Dauphine expects the surgery to take place in the next few days.
Neurosurgeon Dr Nicola Acciari explained that Schumacher has been suffering with osteoporosis and muscle astrophy – the muscles wasting away as a result of being bed ridden.
‘The goal is to regenerate Michael’s nervous system,’ explained Acciari.
‘Over the past 20 years, science has made enormous progress with stem cell treatment.
‘But that does not change that we still do not know much about the human brain.
‘We are not able to say what the results will be.’
Schumacher’s current state is not entirely clear, but former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa gave a partial update after a recent visit to Germany.
‘I know how he (Schumacher) is, I have information, Massa told Fox Brazil. ‘My relationship with him has always been very close.
‘It is less close with his wife Corinna because she did not go to many races. But I think the main thing about all this is that we know that his situation is not easy. He is in a difficult phase but we need to respect him and the family.
‘They do not like to divulge any information, so who am I to do that? I dream and pray every day that he gets better and that he can appear at a circuit again, especially now that his son is racing.
‘So I pray that it may happen one day.’
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