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What Is Tissue Donation?

One tissue donor can heal the lives of more than 75 people. That’s a lot of people to help just by checking a box.

Tissue donation refers to the process of a deceased person donating part of their body for use in a transplant procedure to repair a recipients physical injury or trauma. Examples of donated tissues include heart valves, bone, tendons, veins/arteries and skin.

Donated tissues can repair, replace or reconstruct damage caused by tumors or trauma. These gifts give recipients additional medical options and can lead to better outcomes, which can give hope to someone involved in a serious medical emergency and improve the quality of life for recipients. Tissue donation ends unnecessary suffering.

Through the gift of tissue and eye donation, one donor may potentially give two people sight through cornea donation. Donated skin may be used for skin grafting for burn victims, or women who need reconstructive surgery after mastectomies for breast cancer. Donated bone may help with reconstructive surgeries after trauma injuries or bone cancers, and donated tendons may help individuals who have suffered sports-related injuries.

How Does Tissue Donation Help?

Donated tissues are used in many common surgeries and medical procedures. In fact, nearly 2.5 million tissue transplants are performed each year.

Donated tissues are used to help:

  • Treat burns
  • Replace heart valves
  • Restore blood flow in the body
  • Reconstruct torn tendons
  • Repair cleft palates
  • Prevent the need for amputation
  • Rebuild joints
  • Complete mastectomy reconstruction

Transplanted tissue has the ability to help aid healing and recovery in many ways. Donated skin may be used for skin grafting for burn victims, or women who need reconstructive surgery after mastectomies for breast cancer. Donated bone may help with reconstructive surgeries after trauma injuries or bone cancers, and donated tendons may help individuals who have suffered sports-related injuries.

Who Can Be a Tissue Donor?

Anyone can register to be a tissue donor.

People from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds have saved and healed lives by becoming tissue donors. At the time of your death, medical professionals will determine if you are able to donate – so don’t rule yourself out.

How Does Someone Become a Tissue Donor?

When a person has passed away, the regional Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) -in this case LifeSource- is contacted to determine if organ and/or tissue donation is possible. If it is determined that the person could be a donor, the OPO will check the donor registry to see if the person was registered as a donor. If they were not registered, their legal next of kin is offered the opportunity to create a legacy for their loved one as a donor.

It is possible for tissue donors to have open casket funerals and LifeSource works closely with funeral homes to honor the requests and needs of donor families. Tissue donors are selfless heroes and we honor our donors’ religious, cultural, personal or spiritual end-of-life needs.