Transplantation is the process of moving an object from one place to another. Organ transplantation refers to the surgical transferring of a donor organ into a person in need, the recipient. Organ transplantation is often used to replace a damaged, dysfunctional, or missing organ usually due to illness or injury. End-stage organ failure is the most common reason for organ transplantation and some conditions that may lead to such a procedure include: cardiomyopathy (heart), cirrhosis of the liver, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lungs), diabetes, and cystic fibrosis among many others.
Donor transplant organs may come from living or deceased individuals and must be carefully matched to their recipient to reduce the chance of rejection. Transplant rejection occurs when a person's body reacts to the new organ tissue as if it were a foreign invader such as an infectious bacteria or virus. Using tissue from a close relative or someone closely matching the individual in need may lessen the chance of transplant rejection. Certain medications may also help repress the immune system while the body adjusts to the new organ or tissue.
Organs that have been successfully transplanted many times include the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, intestine, and thymus. Tissues such as bones, tendons, cornea, skin, heart valves, nerves, and veins have also been successfully transplanted. Other organs and tissues have been transplanted, but are less common and often less successful. Your doctor or specialist can help guide you through the process should you or a loved one be in need of an organ transplant. Support groups are also a great resource for support and information.