Organs That Can
Be Transplanted

more content

When the liver fails, it can result in serious conditions such as jaundice, internal bleeding, muscle wasting and a build-up of toxins in the body. Liver donation can help patients regain their health and lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Livers can be obtained from deceased donors, and also from a living family member who may choose to donate a part of his/her liver to the patient.

With new surgical techniques and effective medications, the success rate of liver transplantation is quite high. About 90% of liver transplant recipients continue to do well one year after transplantation.

NUH and SGH are liver transplant centres, performing both living-donor liver transplants and deceased-donor liver transplants. Living-donor liver transplants are also performed in the private sector.

For more information, please call or visit the websites for the various transplant centres:

  1. National University Centre for Organ Transplant (NUCOT) at 677 2930/6772 4864 or visit the website.
  2. Singhealth Transplant, at 6326 6368 or visit the website.
  3. Parkway Hospitals, at the website.

Kidney transplantation remains the best form of treatment for patients suffering from end-stage kidney failure. Unless a new donor kidney can be found, a patient has to undergo dialysis several times a week for the rest of his life.

Recipients will stand a better chance of survival and also experience better mobility and fitness, subsequently being able to return to work. Some have even managed to bear children after receiving their transplant.

With better surgical techniques and post-transplant immunosuppressant treatment regime, the ten-year graft survival rates for the transplants have been steadily increasing, both for deceased donor transplants and for live transplants.

Heart transplants, where a diseased heart is replaced with a healthy donor heart, are performed when other treatments for heart problems are unsuccessful, leading to heart failure.

A heart transplant will prolong the life of a patient who would otherwise succumb to his/her illness and pass on. The quality of life improves dramatically after a heart transplant and patients are able to resume their normal life, including returning to work, and even starting a family.

The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) performs all deceased donor heart transplants in Singapore and provides post-transplant care and follow-up treatment for recipients.

For more information, please call NHCS at 6704 8000 or visit the website.

Heart valves maintain the one-way flow of blood. Donated heart valves can help children who are born with abnormal or missing valves and patients whose hearts have stopped working effectively.

Trachea, the 'windpipe', leads air into the lungs. A donated trachea can help patients who suffer from the hardening and narrowing of their windpipe.

A donor's body is treated with the utmost respect. Homograft donation does not disfigure the body; an open casket funeral is still possible after organ donation.

The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) established Singapore's first National Cardiovascular Homograft Bank (NCHB) in early 2008 to create a readily available supply of cryopreserved heart valves, vascular tissues and trachea homografts for transplantations.

For more information, please call the National Cardiovascular Homograft Bank at 6436 7576 or visit the website.

Depending on the medical condition, a lung transplant may involve replacing one or both lungs. Usually the last resort treatment for lung failure, a lung transplant can substantially improve a patient's quality of life.

The survival rate after lung transplantation worldwide is reported to be 92%, 79% and 63% for the first month, first year and third year respectively. Early mortality (<90 days) is most often due to infection and late mortality (>90 days) is most often related to rejection.

Corneal donation can help restore sight to those blinded by corneal disease. Vision is restored after a successful transplant.

For corneal removal upon death, only the cornea and not the whole eye is removed. The cornea is only about the size and shape of a contact lens. It would still be possible to have an open-casket funeral as corneal removal makes no noticeable changes to the face.

The Singapore Eye Bank (SEB) is responsible for the retrieval and supply of deceased donor cornea tissues for transplantation in both restructured and private hospitals.

For more information, please call the Singapore Eye Bank at 6322 8311 or visit the website.

Donor skin is an effective treatment option for burn patients. The donated skin helps relieve the patient's pain and discomfort, prevents risk of infection and minimises fluid loss. Without skin transplant, severe burns patients could succumb to severe infection, leading to death.

For more information, please call the Singapore General Hopsital’s (SGH) skin bank unit at 6321 4974 or visit the website.

Transplanted bone, tendons, cartilage and skin are used extensively in orthopedics, neurosurgery, as well as plastic, general and dental surgeries. Bone allograft transplantation may be performed on cancer patients to fill bone voids following tumour surgery, or athletes who need reconstruction of their knees.

Whole body donation gives doctors and medical students the ability to research new life-saving medical and surgical procedures and techniques. Every donation is treated with compassion, care, respect and dignity. Bodies are also used to teach medical students.

The donated bodies can be used for up to three years. Afterwards, the body will be cremated and the ashes returned to the families of those who had donated their bodies to science.

Those who want to pledge their bodies can also do so under MTERA, by completing the yellow “Organ Donation Pledge Form” and sending it to the National Organ Transplant Unit. Singaporeans and Non-Singaporeans can donate their bodies, but they must be at least 18 years old and not mentally disordered.