One person is given a second chance at life with a new heart. Another can walk again because of a bone transplant, or see again with new corneas — all thanks to someone who decided to be an organ and tissue donor. These success stories occur every day, but they can only happen when people like you decide to say “yes” to organ and tissue donation.
The Process of Organ Transplantation
- Transplantation is the process of surgically transferring a donated organ into a patient with end-stage organ failure.
- To be eligible for an organ transplant, you must first get a referral from your physician in order to be evaluated by a transplant program as a potential candidate.
- If it is determined that you are a suitable transplant candidate, your name will be added to the national transplant waiting list. Once an organ has been donated, information is entered into the national waiting list database, which generates a list of potential recipients based on the match with the donor, medical urgency and time on the waiting list.
- This list is shared with the transplant centers. Transplant surgeons review their list of patients who match the donor, starting at the top of the list. If the surgeon declines, the next highest patient on the list is considered for the organ.
- Once a recipient has been identified, he or she goes directly to the transplant center to receive the transplant.
- Following a transplant, recovery times can vary from a few days to several months. To ensure the body accepts the new organ, recipients need to take immunosuppressive drugs daily.
To find more information about organ transplants, visit the
United Network for Organ Sharing website.
Unlike organ donation, there is not a single national waiting list for individuals in need of a tissue transplant. Donated tissues are recovered and sent to tissue banks, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medical matching for tissue donation is not necessary, because the donated tissue is processed before it is implanted into a recipient. Additionally, it is not necessary for tissue recipients to take medications after their transplant due to the purifying that takes place in the processing and preparation of the tissue before it is transplanted.
Find more information about transplants.
To learn more about organ and tissue transplants: