July 10, 2023

Tissue Donation: The Impact You May Not Know It Has

Written by: Kelley McClellan

When most people think about registering to be a donor, organ donation is normally what comes to mind first. In general, most individuals don’t pass away in a hospital setting therefore they don’t qualify to be an organ donor. What many don’t think of when we say that someone can enhance, heal and save the lives of 75 or more when registering, is that this large number comes from the massive impact tissue donation can have. 

Donated tissue can be used in life-threatening medical situations, has many surgical applications and can enhance wound healing. Think about it- patients suffering from amputations, cancer, dental injuries, severe burns and torn ligaments or tendons are all able to have their hope restored with this gift. Tissue donation helps heal, enhance mobility, give full heart function, prevent infection, regain strength and ultimately, go back to a ‘normal’ life. In fact, tissue donation saves lives too. A severely burned patient who receives tissue to heal or a heart valve replacement patient would say these tissue donations did save their lives.  

blog.nvdonor.orghubfsTy Eye Bank Team Member 1
There are several types of tissue that can be donated to impact another person’s life. Here is a list of a few: 

  1. Bones- Which can be used to prevent injury and heal spinal injuries.
  2. Corneas- Which can be used to restore sight.
  3. Heart Valves- Which can be used to repair cardiac defects.
  4. Skin- Which can be used to heal burn patients and breast cancer survivors.
  5. Tendons- Which can be used to rebuild joints.
  6. Veins- Which can be used to re-establish circulation. 

Like organ recovery, tissue recovery only happens after confirmation of registration is found or consent is received from a potential hero’s legal next of kin. Then an initial medical evaluation is completed through information received from this individual(s). This includes things like age, cause of death, etc. The procurement of tissue must happen within 24 hours of passing. Unlike organs, tissue can be processed and stored for an extended period of time which gives it the opportunity to enhance many more lives.   

Each year, approximately 58,000 heroic tissue donors provide lifesaving and healing tissue for transplant. Around 2.5 million tissue transplants are performed annually according to the American Association of Tissue Banks. Many people in need face poor medical alternatives and long waits because this gift isn’t available. Tissue donation helps to end needless suffering and saves lives in a different way than organ donation.  

Inspired to bring hope to those waiting? Register to be a hero now