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Advocacy & Education

10 Reasons Why Tissue Donation Matters

June 19, 2021

Most of us know organ donation saves lives, but what sometimes goes overlooked is how tissue donation saves and enhances the lives of thousands of individuals each year as well. Through donated and/or transplanted tissue, burn victims can receive lifesaving skin grafts, athletes can enjoy revived mobility after debilitating muscle or ligament injuries, and visually impaired people can receive new sight through cornea donation.

To help spread the word in our communities about this vitally important issue, below are 10 things you need to know about tissue donation.

  1. Tissue donation refers to a process by which a deceased person donates parts of his/her body for use in transplant procedures to repair various defects, injuries and other treatments.
  2. Donated tissue such as heart valves, connective tissue, skin, etc., can dramatically improve a recipient’s quality of life, and in many cases, it can mean the difference between life and death.
  3. There are over 1 million tissue transplant surgeries performed each year in the U.S. alone. In fact, it is estimated that every year, roughly 1 in 20 Americans will require some type of tissue transplant.
  4. Everyone from infants to senior citizens can donate tissue if they are medically suitable at the time of death.
  5. Through the selfless decision of just one donor, the lives of up to 75 individuals can be positively impacted through tissue donation. Not only can lives be saved, but individuals who were once relegated to living a life of laborious and expensive routine medical treatments can enjoy a dramatically improved quality of life.
  6. Examples of how donated tissue can save or enhance an individual’s life:
    • Bone can be used for various reconstructive procedures
    • Skin can bring relief and healing to burn victims or individuals with serious infections
    • Veins can help restore circulation
    • Bones can help prevent the need for an amputation to be performed
    • Heart valves can repair various cardiac defects
    • Corneas can give the gift of sight to the visually impaired
    • Ligaments and tendons can restore mobility and hope to military personnel who have suffered life altering injuries in combat
  7. Unlike organs, donated tissue can be stored for longer periods of time, providing more versatility to medical professionals who can use them for various cases.
  8. Each year, more than 25,000 tissue donors provide restorative, lifesaving tissue for transplant operations. 
  9. The various tissues that are commonly used in transplant operations can normally be recovered up to 24 hours after the donor’s death has occurred.
  10. According to recent surveys, 95% of Americans believe that is important to be a tissue and/or organ donor, but only 58% have registered to become donors. This needs to change!

As you can see, the potential impact that just one person can have by choosing to become a tissue donor can create an exponential positive effect on dozens of other people’s lives. If you haven’t yet decided to become a tissue and/or organ donor, be sure to say “yes” to life by registering today!