When an organ is moved from one person to another, or from a donor site on the person's own body to replace an absent or damaged organ, it is said that an organ transplantation has taken place. This is conducted through transplant surgery.
Organs that lend themselves to organ transplants are kidneys, lungs, liver, thymus, intestine, heart and pancreas. Other tissues such as tendons, bones, skin, cornea, veins and heart valves can also be transplanted. Organ donors may be brain dead or living. Tissues can also be harvested from cardiac dead persons for up to 24 hours after the person has died.
Worldwide, kidney transplants are the most popular kind of transplants followed by liver transplants, and heart transplants. Other kinds such as bone marrow transplants and lung transplants follow.
One of the key challenges facing organ transplantation is transplant rejection. Here, the body's immune response tries to reject the transplanted organ as alien. This can lead to transplant failure. However, the chances can be reduced by serotyping and using immunosuppressant drugs.
Skin grafts have been traditionally used to rebuilt noses and other damaged parts of the body - like in case of burns. This technique is called auto grafting. Blood can also be collected from the body prior to surgery and then transfused back into the body later.
People also donate organs to their relatives by organ donation. Another popular concept is paired exchange, where willing donors are matched to recipients through serotyping.
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