What Organs Can Be Donated?

Did you know that today, every individual organ donor can save up to eight lives?

What a gift to those in need. The organ procurement process covers numerous organs and body tissues that impact the lives of recipients and their families. Here’s how it breaks down.

Deceased organ donors can donate:

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Pancreas
  • Intestines

Living organ donors can donate:

  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Portion of the liver

Tissues

Tissues cover a variety of areas of the body and are used in numerous procedures. A single donor can impact the lives of more than 75 people.

Corneas, skin, heart valves, bone, veins, tendons, and ligaments can be stored in tissue banks and used to restore sight, cover burns, repair hearts, replace veins, and mend damaged connective tissue and cartilage in recipients. 

Jonathan Gavin Tissue Recipient

       Jonathan Gavin, Tissue Recipient

Tissue donation must be initiated within 24 hours of death. However, tissue can be processed and stored for an extended period of time.

Each year, about 30,000 tissue donors provide more than 1.75 million lifesaving and life-enhancing tissue transplants.

Heart Valves

Can be transplanted to save the lives of children born with heart defects, and adults with damaged heart valves.

Skin

Can be used as a natural dressing for people with serious burns. It can even save lives by stopping infections.

Bone

Is important for people receiving artificial joint replacements, or replacing bone that has been removed due to illness or injury.

Tendons

The elastic-like cords that attach bones and muscles to each other, can be donated to help rebuild damaged joints.

Corneas

You can help the blind to see by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor. Here are some facts about cornea and eye donation:

 

Tiana Bane, Cornea Recipient

Tiana Bane, Cornea Recipient

More than 95% of all corneal transplants are successful in restoring the recipient’s vision. The cornea is the clear part of the eye over the iris and pupil. People may have damaged corneas from eye disease, injury, or birth defects.

Corneal donors don’t have to “match” recipients like organ donors do. Donors are universal. Your blood type and eye color don’t have to match. Age, eye color and how good your eyesight is, do not matter.

Vascularized Composite Allografts (VCA)

Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) refers to the transplantation of multiple tissues, such as skin, muscle, tendon, nerve, and bone, as a functional unit (e.g. a hand, the abdominal wall, etc.).

In 2005, the first hand transplants were performed, and in 2007, the first face transplant was performed.

As of January 2018, less than 200 VCA organ transplants have been performed around the world.