Tissue Series: Donated Veins & Arteries

A tissue donor’s veins or arteries can replace blood vessels that have been destroyed by disease or injury. Donated veins are most commonly used for heart bypass surgeries, repairing critical aneurysms, or diabetics who are threatened with losing a limb. For bypass surgeries, veins are inserted to detour the blood flow around a blockage, creating a new passageway for the blood to flow through the heart chambers. Not many people realize how many thousands of vascular transplants occur each year in the U.S. because of tissue donors’ donation of veins. For diabetics, surgeons can use a donor’s vein to recreate circulation in to a limb that otherwise would be amputated.

Normally, the vein found on the inside of the leg is the one most commonly donated. It’s called the “Saphenous Vein;” a long vein that runs all the way down the inside of the leg. Two other veins that are eligible for donation are the aortic and femoral arteries. These veins can be stored for up to two years before being transplanted.

It’s possible to use synthetic veins instead, however they tend to clog faster than donated human veins. Regardless, donated human veins and arteries help save thousands upon thousands of lives each year.

Register today to become a tissue donor and safe someone’s life.

Tissue Series: Bone & Tendon Donation

If you’ve ever had knee, hip, or orthopedic surgery, you may be a tissue recipient. Your recovery, regained strength, ability to walk, run, lift, swing, turn, and pivot is possible because someone donated their musculoskeletal tissue, knowing they would be able to help someone like you in need. Donated bones and tendons help repair or replace tissue that’s been damaged by disease, injuries or tumors. In some cases, it can prevent someone from losing their limb.

Bone and tendon tissue is called, “Musculoskeletal Tissue” because it comes from bone, tendons, ligaments, and meniscus. The types of bones that can be donated are:
• Bone from your hip
• Ribs
• Lower leg bones (Tibia, Filbula and Femur)
• Upper arm bone (Humerus)

Bone is actually the second highest transplanted tissue in the world. It is often used in hip, and knee replacements and spinal surgeries.

Donated tendons include:
• Achilles
• Patella Tendon (located in the front of your knee cap)
• Anterior Tibialis Tendon (located in your foot)

Meniscus is also donated for cartilage replacement in knees and hips. Without it, your joints wouldn’t have any cushion or support, and moving in general would be extremely painful, or in some cases, not even possible.

Most of the time, these tissues are used for sports injuries involving damaged ligaments and/or tendons. Without these donations and surgeries, people wouldn’t be able to recover to their normal, mobile life again, as well as be able to enjoy their favorite sport or physical activities.

Be the reason someone is able to run again. Register today to become a tissue donor.