What is tissue donation?

Voluntary Donation

Tissue donation refers to the voluntary donation of human tissue after death. In South Africa, bone, skin, heart valves and corneas can be donated.

4 Important differences

Between Tissue And Organ Donation

1. Tissue is recovered after cardiac death

Organ donation is highly complex and can only take place if the potential donor is:

  • in hospital;
  • has been certified to have suffered brain-stem death; and
  • healthcare professionals can sustain the donor though mechanical support and medication to ensure that organs are suitable for transplantation.

In contrast, tissue recovery takes place after cardiac death, and it does not matter whether a potential tissue donor passes away in or out of hospital.

2. Many more people can be tissue donors

Potential organ donors are very carefully screened before selection. Several issues such as illness, cause and manner of death influences the suitability of an organ donor. Donated organs also must be matched to a potential recipient for a successful transplant.

As a result, a very small percentage of people can be organ donors when they die.

While potential tissue donors are also thoroughly screened, donated tissue does not have to be matched to a recipient. Anyone can donate to anyone.

This means about 85% of people who die, can be successful tissue donors.

3. There Is More Time

Organs must be recovered and transplanted in a hospital, in a very limited time period to ensure that the organs remain viable.

It is possible to recover tissue (depending on the type of tissue) up to 48 hours after death. In the case of bone donation, tissue can be recovered up to five days after death. Recovery can take place in a hospital, at a mortuary or at a funeral home.

4. So many more patients can benefit

While a single organ donor can potentially save help 7 people, a single tissue donor can help more than 65 people.

Tissue donation can save the lives of burn victims, restore sight, avoid amputation, improve mobility and prolong life.

Are you an everyday hero?

Interested In Registering As An Organ And Tissue Donor?