Skin Skin grafts are used to replace damaged or missing skin, most commonly to treat burn victims. It can also be used for reconstruction after the surgical removal of diseased organs or skin, such as after a mastectomy, or used for protection from surgical wounds or skin loss. Skin grafts can be used in cosmetic surgery too, plumping up lips or cheeks. The grafts are priced according to the size of the skin piece; prices can range from $90 to $16,000.
Bone Bones can be used beyond the body part they were taken from. Fragments can repair bone defects or fractures caused by trauma, cancer or infection. They are used to reconstruct limbs, rebuild jaws and spines, or add support to dental procedures such as implants. Bone can also be processed into bone putty, paste or screws to add support or make connections. Bone grafts are priced according to the size and use, from $300 to $5,000.
Connective Tissue Tendons, cartilage and ligaments are among the common forms of connective tissue. Bone and skin are also included in this category. Connective tissue can be used to repair facial deformity and rebuild joints throughout the body. It can help to restore appearance and mobility, and decrease pain.
Veins Veins are often used in patients who require heart bypass surgery or have other ailments that cause a decrease in blood flow. A vein transplant can also often help a patient avoid amputation.
Sources: Documents from Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation; LifeNet Health and Community Tissue Services obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to hospital and medical facilities; International Consortium for International Journalists
Credits: Sandra Bartlett, Alicia Cypress, Nelson Hsu, Kevin Uhrmacher, Barbara Van Woerkom and Angela Wong / NPR