I. Survey of Transplant Techniques
The kidney is one of the few organs which today can be successfully transplanted from a living donor to an ailing recipient. A healthy donor can function satisfactorily with a single kidney; therefore the removal of one kidney for transplantation does not significantly endanger the donor's life. However, removal, or even partial removal, of other organs, such as the heart, lungs, or pancreas, will present a serious risk to the health and life of the donor.
In addition to organs, skin, bone marrow, blood and other body parts can be transplanted from living donors.
A. Kidney Transplants
The kidneys function to regulate the body's electrolyte and water balance and eliminate various wastes. Severe kidney dysfunction endangers the patient's life, and requires treatment by dialysis or kidney transplant. Up until a decade ago, the life expectancy of patients treated by dialysis exceeded that of patients who underwent kidney transplants. Over the past decade, the life expectancy of patients who have undergone kidney transplants from deceased donors has increased to a point where it is now comparable with the life expectancy of patients on dialysis.