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While many people are familiar with the idea of organ donation, tissue donation is not as familiar, but is no less a gift of life. The gift of donated tissue can help many people in a variety of ways and the stories of lives changed by generous donors are countless.
Here are some of the tissues that can be donated and transplanted to those in need:
Every day, donated corneas help restore sight to individuals suffering from corneal blindness or trauma to the eye. Tens of thousands of corneal transplants are performed in the U.S. every year.
Bones and tendons can be used to replace or reconstruct tissue destroyed by tumors, trauma or infection, and saving limbs that would otherwise be amputated.
Donated heart valves can replace damaged ones, allowing the heart to function again. When used in young patients, these donated heart valves can actually “grow” with the recipient and reduce the need for repeated surgeries.
Donated veins can be used in patients who require coronary artery bypass surgery, a routine procedure that saves thousands of lives and allows these individuals to return to their normal lifestyles. For individuals suffering from diabetes or other diseases that cause a decrease in the blood flow, surgeons may use donated veins to repair damaged vessels and restore blood flow — in many cases saving a recipient’s leg from amputation.
Donated skin is critically needed for patients suffering from burns or trauma, and used as a bandage to protect the body from infection and promote healing. Donated skin is also used for cleft palate repair or mastectomy reconstruction.
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The Interactive Body
Explore the Interactive Body to learn about organs and tissues needed for others awaiting transplants.