Q. What is allograft?
A. Allograft is tissue taken from one person for transplantation into another. This can include bone, tendons, ligaments, skin and heart valves. Allografts have been used successfully in various medical procedures for more than 150 years. About one million allografts are transplanted each year in the United States.
Q. Where does the tissue come from?
A. Before death, a person may have consented to donate his or her tissue to enhance the quality of life for others. Authorization for donation can also be given by the donor’s family. Donation is always voluntary.
After authorized consent is obtained, potential donors are thoroughly screened for risk factors and medical conditions that would rule out donation. This screening includes interviews with family members, evaluation of medical and hospital records, and a physical assessment of the donor.
Recovery of the tissue is performed with respect for the donor using surgical techniques.
Q. What types of surgeries use allograft implants?
A. Allografts are used in procedures such as:
Q. What are the benefits of allografts?
A. Allografts are a natural alternative to synthetic and metal implants. However, unlike synthetic or metal implants, allografts incorporate into your body.
Another choice surgeons have is an autograft, which takes tissue from one part of your body for transplantation to another part. Using an allograft eliminates the need for a second surgery site—avoiding additional pain, risk and possible longer hospital stay.
It is important to discuss any questions or concerns with your physician before your surgery.
Q. How safe are allografts?
A. Allografts have been used successfully in various medical procedures for more than 150 years. About one million allografts are transplanted each year in the United States. The safety of any tissue is contingent upon three stages: donor screening, laboratory testing and tissue preparation validated to address potential disease transmission. Many allografts are sterilized, just like other medical devices used in surgeries. When receiving an allograft implant, be sure to ask your surgeon about tissue preparation and sterilization.
Q. Why is sterilization important to you?
A. Not all companies that provide surgeons with allograft tissue process tissue in a manner that reduces the risk of donor-to-recipient disease transmission. If you are receiving an allograft implant, be sure to ask your surgeon if the tissue they will be using has been sterilized.
Q. What is a bone bank?
A. A bone bank is an organization that recovers donated human tissue after a person has died and authorization has been obtained for the donation. These organizations offer the option of tissue donation to families and continue to support these families following the donation through aftercare programs. Bone banks are more commonly called tissue banks.
Q. My surgeon said he/she is using cadaver tissue. What does that mean?
A. Cadaver tissue is another way your surgeon might refer to allograft tissue. It is tissue from a deceased human donor that is surgically transplanted in another person. Bone, tendons, cartilage, skin, heart valves and veins are common types of tissues that are used for transplant to help patients in many different types of surgeries.