Tissue donation is another way to save and improve lives through transplantation. Hundreds of thousands of people benefit annually from tissue transplantation, which can provide patients with opportunities to experience otherwise impossible events.
One tissue donor can enhance or restore the lives of more than 75 people.
- Bone – can restore mobility and assist in limb reconstruction.
- Corneas – restore sight to people who have been injured by disease or trauma.
- Heart valves – can be lifesaving to children and adults with absent or damaged valves.
- Ligaments and tendons – are used to reconstruct damaged joints after trauma, arthritis or other diseases.
- Skin grafts – can help burn patients heal and can mean the difference between life and death. Many surgeries, such as open heart and post-mastectomy breast reconstruction, also utilize skin grafts.
- Veins and arteries – are used in heart bypass surgery to re-establish blood circulation. Donated veins can also help patients avoid leg amputation after a loss of circulation.
Tissue donation takes place at the end of someone’s life and is a gift given without conditions or compensation. Tissue donation differs from organ donation in that individuals have experienced brain death and become organ donors may also donate tissue, individuals who experience cardiac death may also become tissue donors.