Tissue from living donors is more hip than you think

2 minute read

Here’s a good question to ask expecting mothers and those in need of a new hip: ‘Do you want to donate?’

Upcycling: it’s keeping femoral heads and placentas out of landfill while providing surgeons with gold-standard void fillers and dressings.  

It’s a grief-free process for the living donors and is managed rigorously by the Australian Tissue Donation Network. 

Deb Stracey, former registered nurse and chief executive of the Australian Tissue Donation Network, joins us in The Tea Room this week.  

Ms Stracey talks us through the lab process of turning femoral heads into “crunch”, which is prized by orthopaedic surgeons as a “gold standard” void filler. The amnion in placentas is also sought after by surgeons for intraoperative dressings.  

“Organ donation from deceased donors is front of mind because it saves people’s lives,” Ms Stracey says. “But when you can drastically improve people’s lives through tissue donation from living donors, it’s a really good place to be.” 

She explains what GPs can do to help upcycle femoral heads and placenta linings that would otherwise end up as biomedical waste. 

“The first port of call for the newly pregnant or someone with a sore hip is the GP. If GPs understand the program, they can give patients the heads-up that donating tissue is something that the patient could do as part of that procedure.” 

During covid there was a 16% decrease in the number of organ and tissue donors in Australia.  

Visit tissuedonationnetwork.org.au for more information.  

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for “The Tea Room Medical Republic” in your favourite podcast player. 

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