10 Lesser known facts about organ transplantation

Organ transplantation has the power to save life where time is crucial in setting conditions prior to surgery for a successful transplant.


The subject of organ donation and transplant is an important perquisite for medical progress. Even at this current moment, there may be a person smiling after receiving a donor organ while elsewhere a person could be dying for the want of one.

A common problem worldwide is the lack of sufficient donors. Several reasons inhibit people from donating organs. Due to such scarcity, people tend to go to any lengths to acquire one. Organ transplantation is relatively uncharted territory for any lay man. Reading this list will inform you of 10 important things you never knew regarding organ transplantation.


1 3D Printing: The New Revolution in Organ Transplants

3D printing is the future of medical technology. It could well be implemented to recreate healthy human organs from patient’s cells. In event of such a possibility, immunosuppressants will no longer be required to combat the major problem of organ rejection.

In a boost to further 3D printing for medical progress, scientists from Harvard and Sydney universities created blood capillaries, which successfully formed blood vessels, the main objective of the experiment.

The New Revolution in Organ Transplants

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2 During Transplantation Old Kidneys are Left Behind

In a typical organ transplant, the old organ is removed and replaced with a new one. However, this isn’t so with your kidneys. If you receive a transplanted kidney, your old kidneys are actually left in your body.


Due to the awkward location of your natural kidneys, surgeons find it difficult to facilitate their removal thus; new kidneys are fitted in a different location alongside your old ones. Old kidneys are removed only if they are infected. Imagine having three kidneys in your body

During Transplantation Old Kidneys are Left Behind

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3 Matching Organs

In certain cases, a matched organ may not always be eligible for transplant. This is when doctors have to juggle their way around the hospital looking for pre transplant patients in hopes of acquiring a pair between two patients.

Sometimes the process could involve more than two people. In such a case, it could drive doctors crazy in trying to locate the perfect pairing of organs between receiving patients. Given the complicated procedure, paired exchanges are the best way in ensuring a perfect match for successful transplants

 Matching Organs

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4 A Matching Organ Can Even Be Rejected

Matching organs are transplanted successfully……only on TV!


Despite a perfect match, your body’s immune system may perceive a threat in any organ not its own. This results in rejection of the transplanted organ. Thus matching types may not always gain acceptance by your body. In further complication of the process, doctors have even observed matching organs being rejected while improper matches weren’t getting rejected.

This phenomenon has led to further need for research in the possibility of additional antigens that play a role in acceptance or rejection of transplanted organs.

A Matching Organ Can Even Be Rejected

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5 Immunosuppressants Cause Diabetes Mellitus

If you’ve had an organ transplant, you may have to take medication such as immunosuppressants on a permanent basis; this suppresses your immune system in a bid to reduce the possibilities of your body rejecting your new organ.

The flip side of this coin is extremely dismal. Suppressing the immune system makes one susceptible to diseases such as cold, allergies, flu and even fatalistic conditions. If you thought that was a damper, then consider the fact that immunosuppressants are known to cause Diabetes Mellitus, a condition which prevents your body derive its energy from food.

Immunosuppressants Cause Diabetes Mellitus

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6 Religion and Organ Donors

Religion at times, proves a major obstacle to organ transplants. While most major religions are gradually coming to terms with the life-saving factor of organ donation, some religions like Judaism cannot reconcile to the fact that a heart transplant requires the organ to be live and beating when transplanted.

Such donations are usually taken from brain dead patients but Jews believe that a person is dead only when his heart stops beating. As a result, the issue of transplantation borders on the unethical.


In countries like Iran, organ transplantation is usually done from organs of living donors in order to avoid confusion for religious burials.

Religion and Organ Donors

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7 Organ Trafficking: The Red Market

Scott Carney a journalist studying the illegal organ trade has observed what he terms the ‘Red Market’. Discovering a multimillion dollar business, Carney found that a human body is essentially worth $250,000


Contrary to popular belief, the Red Market thrives mainly in voluntary sale of organs. Post tsunami of 2004, a large number of displaced Indians fell prey to the lure of fast money in a bid to improve their living conditions. Hence the exploitation of poverty and circumstances was a major factor in initiating voluntary organ sale.

Organ Trafficking: The Red Market

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8 Waiting List Exploitation and Abuse

While ethics govern the waiting list of organs to ensure only those in dire need get them, it may not always be the case.


As in every profession, bad elements are bound to surface. Similarly in Germany, a scandal emerged in 2013 where doctors were found pushing patients up a list for monetary favors. To make matters worse, blood was injected into urine samples to falsify reports. The result was a considerable decrease of organ donation in the country

Waiting List Exploitation and Abuse

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9 Organ Transplantation May Decrease Life Expectancy

Not everything you see in a movie is true. Life expectancy decreases after an organ transplant. The average life expectancy of a transplant patient is 10 years at the most.


The main deciding factor of life expectancy after an organ transplant is rejection issues. In the natural process of things, the body’s continuous fight against a foreign body ends in its success which results in death. However on a positive note, new age improved immunosuppressants help transplant patients live longer than expected.

Organ Transplantation May Decrease Life Expectancy

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10 Organ Transplants Are Still a Subject of Research

Although considerable research has been going on in organ transplantation, it is still a relevantly new area in medical research. The first successful transplant was carried out just about 66 years ago in 1950. However, the patient expired soon after.


It was not until Peter Medawar, a Brazilian surgeon of English origin, who discovered that causes of rejection were the immune system. Following the successful kidney transplant from one twin to the other, Medawar’s findings also favored the concept of matching organs that was established by the fact that the recipient was well and healthy after the transplant.

Organ Transplants Are Still a Subject of Research

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Medawar went on to receive the Nobel Prize for his pioneering contribution to the field of organ transplantation.


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