What is a transplant?

A transplant is the surgical placement of tissue or an organ from one part of the body to another or from one individual to another. Some tissues and organs, for example kidneys and parts of livers, can be donated by living humans. Others are donated only after death has occurred.

When is a transplant performed?

A transplant is performed when a malfunctioning organ or tissue cannot be effectively treated with medication. The patient or prospective recipient is carefully tested to determine eligibility for a transplant. Eligibility is based on age, underlying health status and degree of organ failure. If eligible, the prospective recipient is put on a transplant list. If a donated organ or tissue becomes available when the prospective recipient is at the top of the waiting list, the prospective recipient and donated organ or tissue are checked for compatibility. If compatible, the transplant is surgically completed.

Does a transplant hurt?

Not during the operation, as general anesthesia is used to prevent discomfort to the patient. However, incision sites may be sore for some time following the transplant.

Are there any potential complications associated with a transplant?

Yes, the body may reject the donated tissue or organ. Transplant patients take many medications after the transplant to prevent their body from rejecting the organ or tissue. Also, because there are long waiting lists for organ transplants, the patient waiting for a donated organ may not survive until they reach the top of the waiting list, a compatible organ becomes available, and the transplant can be performed.