Transplant surgery is a type of surgery and surgical specialty that pertains to the transfer of one person's organs to another person for the purpose of replacing damaged or absent organs.
Patients who donate their organs are called organ donors; patients who receive the donor organs are called organ recipients. With the exception of those who donate a portion of a liver or a single kidney, most organ donors are brain-dead. Transplant patients often have to wait months or even years for a transplant to come their way by putting their name on a list. In Grey's Anatomy, the fictionalized version of real-life organization U.N.O.S. coordinates transplant patients and donors.
Transplant surgery, given the specific organs harvested, encompasses aspects of general surgery, pediatric surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, urology, ENT, and/or ophthalmology
U.N.O.S. works on a point system, depending on how badly a patient is deteriorating. If the points are tied, as with Denny Duquette and Michael Norris, it goes to the patient entered first into U.N.O.S.
For a patient and donor to be a match, they need to have the same blood type, and it is best if the age is somewhat close and the size of the organ fits into the patient's body. However, adult livers can be transplanted into a baby, as demonstrated by Alex Karev and Robert Stark.
U.N.O.S. works with hospital transplant coordinators to arrange the donation and prepare the recipient for surgery.
Notable Transplant PatientsEdit
- Izzie Stevens donated some of her bone marrow to her biological daughter.
- Denny Duquette, Jr. received a heart.
- Thatcher Grey received a partial living liver donation from Meredith Grey.
- Bailey performed a 6-donor, 6-patient kidney transplant domino surgery.
- Teddy performed an ex vivo lung transplant on Elliott Meyer.
Notes and TriviaEdit
- In Grey's Anatomy, there is no dedicated transplant surgeon on staff; most of the transplant surgeries are performed by general surgeons except for transplants of organs relating to other surgical specialties.
- SGH/SGMWH/GSM staff prefer to do their own harvesting when the organ donor is off-site.
- In addition to being the head cardiothoracic surgeon at Seattle Grace Hospital, Dr. Preston Burke was also a cardiothoracic transplant surgeon.
- Due to budget cuts at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, Dr. Owen Hunt also acted as the hospital's transplant coordinator.
- According to Dr. Teddy Altman, 85% of possible donor lungs get thrown out because they get too inflamed while the donor's brain dead.
- Cristina Yang recently published an article on ex vivo lung perfusion to rehabilitate marginal lungs for use in transplantation.