Medical science and technology have advanced in huge leaps over the last one hundred years. Transplant surgeries are one of the many advances that doctors and scientists have made in helping people live longer and healthier lives. A transplant involves taking an organ from a living or deceased donor, and placing it in to the body of a recipient who is in need of a replacement for that particular organ. This article will provide a brief outline in to some of the more common organs that can be transplanted.
The first organ that I will discuss that can be transplanted is arguably the most complicated of all the transplant surgeries. The heart. The human to human heart transplant was done in 1967. Today, over 3,000 heart transplants are done each year. Because of the difficulties involved in this transplant surgery, the long-term survival is still not very good, although it is improving.
Lungs can also be transplanted. There are many variations on a lung transplant, depending on whether one or both lungs are transplanted, and even how much of a lung is replaced. Lungs have more than one functional lobe (three in the right lung, two in the left). The entire lung can be replaced, or only a single or pair of lobes. The decision on how much of a lung to transplant must be made individually for each patient, depending on their particular needs.
Skin can be transplanted. This is known more commonly as a “skin graft”. These grafts can be done with samples of skin taken from the patient and moved to another location (called an autograft). These types of procedures are commonly done to repair burns and other trauma that is suffered by the patient.
Kidneys are one of the most common organs to be transplanted. This is because you do not need a deceased donor to do a kidney transplant. Each person is normally born with two kidneys, although you really only need one of them to live a healthy life. This means that a properly matched living donor could donate their “extra” kidney to someone who is in complete renal failure.
Liver transplants are also done. The liver is the largest gland in your body, and is responsible for a massive amount of chemical processing. As with the lungs, it is possible to transplant part or all of a liver from a donor to a recipient. The liver has a massive blood supply, making this type of surgery very complicated and risky. But a successful liver transplant can add years to a persons life.
The pancreas can also be transplanted. This is an organ in your abdomen that is responsible for making a wide range of hormones and chemicals, including insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels in your blood. Problems with your pancreas can lead to the development of diabetes.
Parts of the intestines and stomach can be transplanted. The extent of these transplants varies tremendously based on the amount of intestine that is available, and the needs of the recipient.
In addition to the large solid organs, there are many smaller parts of the human body that can be transplanted. A blood transfusion is technically a “blood transplant”. Corneas in the eye can be transplanted, giving sight back to the recipient. Entire bones can be transplanted as needed. Tendon, the tissues that attach bones to muscle, can be transplanted.
The art and science of transplant surgery is constantly advancing. Doctors continue to make advances every year in an effort to help as many people as possible. There are few parts of the body that doctors have not attempted to transplant at this time.