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Know More About Organ Transplant In India

Know More About Organ Transplant In India

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What is meant by transplant?

Transplant medically refers to organ transplantation. It is usually the only treatment available for patients who experience a last state organ failure. One of the most common transplantations carried out globally is that of the kidney although transplants of heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, skin, cornea, hand, uterus, trachea, BMT are also carried out across India.

Organ transplants can be effective in saving the lives of people who are affected by terminal organ failure. The clinically conducted medical procedure is beneficial in improving the quality of life of a distressed patient. In India, reputable transplant programs provide good services and results for both children and adults.

The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) functions as the head centre for all activities about transplant. This includes everything from registration, coordination, networking to procurement and distribution of organs and tissues in India. 

The Process of Transplantation 

Organ or tissue transplant is a medical procedure. In the former, an organ is removed from one body (donor) and placed in the recipient’s body. This is done to replace a damaged organ of the recipient. Sometimes tissue transplants are also done within the same person’s body and this procedure is referred to as “Autografts” while that performed between two people is called “Allografts”. The latter can be sourced from either a living individual or cadaveric source. 

Organ transplant services in India include that of the heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestine, uterus and thymus. Tissue transplants include that of the bones, cornea, skin, bone marrow transplant, trachea and thymus.

Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT)

Also known as Stem Cell Transplant, Bone Marrow Transplant is offered as a treatment for a few types of cancer such as multiple myeloma, leukaemia and some other types of lymphoma. The reason why stem cell transplant was earlier called bone marrow transplant is that the stem cells were collected from the bone marrow. Stem cells, today, are also collected from the blood and thus referred to as stem cell transplants.

Types of Stem Cell Transplant 

Here are some of the most common forms of stem cell transplants:

Autologous Transplant:

The autologous transplant is also known as AUTO transplant is a higher level of chemotherapy which is done with stem cell rescue. In this procedure, the patient’s stem cells are collected from his blood and preserved. Once the patient undergoes the chemotherapy, the frozen stem cells that were preserved are thawed and put back into the patient’s blood via IV. It can take up to 24 hours for one’s stem cells to reach the bone marrow before they begin multiplying to make healthy blood cells once again.  

Other Details for Autologus Bone Marrow Transplant in India:

  • Cost of Autologus Bone Marrow Transplant in India – USD 20000
  • Length of Stay in India for Autologus Bone Marrow Transplant – 2-3 months
  • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)

Allogenic Transplantation:

Allogeneic transplantation known as ALLO transplant is a process where a patient gets another person’s stem cells. For this, the bone marrow has to match. Every individual has certain proteins on their WBC (White Blood Cells). These are known as HLA or Human Leukocyte Antigens. The best donor is one who’s HLA proteins are matched as much as with that of the recipient.

The two kinds of ALLO transplants are Ablative Transplant which uses high-dose chemo. The other is the Reduced Intensity which uses milder doses of chemotherapy. In case of one doesn’t find a matched donor, other transplant options such as Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant or Parent to Child Transplant and Haplotype Mismatched Transplant are available depending on what suits the patient’s body type. 

Other Details For Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant:

  • Cost of Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant in India – USD 30000
  • Length of Stay in India for Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant – 2-3 months
  • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)

Thymus Transplantation

The thymus plays a vital role in the production of new T-cells. These are immune cells that destroy pathogens and precancerous cells in the body. Infants and children with DiGeorge syndrome can be treated with Thymus transplantation. The DiGeorge syndrome can either result in an absence of thymus or hypoplastic thymus condition. Thymus transplantation can also be used to treat Nezelof syndrome. 

Cornea Transplantation

The cornea is the front layer of your eye. A cornea transplant is done when a patent’s cornea is damaged. Damage can cause your vision to be completely blurred requiring a cornea transplant. One of these conditions that can damage the cornea is the Fuchs’ dystrophy in which the cornea’s inner cells die. This leads to swelling and thickening of the cornea thereby blurring the vision. 

A cornea transplant is a clinical procedure in which the diseased or damaged cornea is replaced with healthy corneal tissue. The transplant can be done with healthy corneal tissue from the eye of a deceased human donor. It is a common transplant surgery and can restore clear vision in patients. An ophthalmologist can determine the cause of eye pain, blurred or cloudy vision and suggest the necessary treatment as required to resolve the symptoms. In extreme cases where the cornea cannot be repaired a transplant is recommended. 

Other Details for Cornea Transplant in India:

  • Cost of Cornea Transplant in India: USD 1800
  • Length of stay in India for Cornea Transplant: 7 days

Heart Transplant

heart transplant is a treatment offered to patient’s suffering from a heart ailment that hasn’t improved even after medications or surgeries. In such a case, a diseased heart which fails to function normally is replaced with a healthier heart from a donor. 

Heart failures can be caused by certain conditions such as:

  • A weakening heart muscle
  • A coronary artery disease
  • A heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease 
  • Recurring abnormal heart rhythms that cannot be controlled by other treatments
  • Failure of a previous heart transplant 

Children can also experience heart failure which is in most cases caused by either cardiomyopathy or a congenital heart defect. 

A heart transplant is a surgery that is done in an open-heart procedure which can take up to several hours. The procedure starts by administering the patient with general anaesthesia after which the surgeons connect him to a heart-lung bypass machine so that the blood keeps flowing through the body. The surgical procedure entails the removal of the diseased heart and sewing the donor heart in its place. This is followed by required medication. 

Other Details for Heart Transplant in India:

  • Cost of Heart Transplant in India: USD 50000
  • Length of stay in India for Heart Transplant: 2 to 6 months (depends on availability of donor)

Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplant is a surgical procedure which is carried out to treat a patient with kidney failure. In this procedure, either one of the kidneys or both need to be replaced. The donor can be living or deceased. The kidney is a vital body organ and they filter the waste from our blood and eliminate it from the body through the urine. Kidneys enable the body to maintain its electrolyte and fluid balance. Failed kidneys lead to accumulation of toxins in the body. While people can undergo dialysis treatment for filtering the waste that builds up in their blood when their kidneys fail, some patients might have to undergo a transplant.

Kidney transplant comes with its pros and cons. For instance, as compared to dialysis where the patient has to adhere to a strict schedule, a transplant of the kidneys allows people to lead an improved active life. Kidney transplants aren’t suitable for everyone and only the respective medical professional will be able to guide a patient on whether to go ahead with a transplant or not. During a transplant, the surgeon takes a donated kidney and places it in the patient’s body to replace his damaged kidney. However, follow up tests and necessary medications are given to keep to the patient’s immune system from attacking the new organ. 

Receiving a kidney from a family member is a better option as compared to getting it from a donor as it reduces the risk of the body rejecting the kidney. During the evaluation process for a transplant, the patient has to undertake blood tests to determine his blood type and HLA (human leukocyte antigen). This is a group of antigens that found on the white blood cell surface. Antigens are responsible for the body’s immune system. It is the HLA type that needs to be matched for the donor and the recipient so that the chances of rejection are minimized and the success rate of the transplant is higher. 

A few risks associated with kidney transplant procedure include blockage or leakage from the ureter, infection, and rejection of the donated kidney, failure of the transplanted kidney, a stroke or a heart attack. 

Other Details for Kidney Transplant Surgery in India:

  • Cost of Kidney Transplant in India: USD 14000
  • Stay in India: 30-45 days
  • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)
  • List of documents needed for transplant approval in India.

Liver Transplant

Liver transplant is a surgery in which a deceased liver in an individual is replaced with a healthy liver. This is a unique transplantation procedure where either a part of the liver can be transplanted or the entire liver replaced. Usually, a healthy liver used for transplantation is sourced from a deceased donor. Living donors can also donate a part of their lives for a family member or for a person whose blood type matches his. People can survive and lead a healthy life even with a part of their lives. 

The liver is the only organ that regenerates tissue in the body and the donor’s liver can grow t its normal size after the surgery. For the recipient, the new liver part implanted in his body will also grow to normal size within a few weeks. 

A liver transplant is typically suggested by doctors when a person is hit by the last-stage of liver disease. This is also known as chronic liver failure and is a life-threatening condition. Cirrhosis, a chronic condition of the liver is one of the principal causes of end-stage liver ailment. It happens when the liver stops functioning properly due to its healthy tissue being replaced with scar tissue. Some other diseases that may lead to the last stage of liver disease include acute hepatic necrosis, viral hepatitis, biliary atresia, metabolic diseases, liver cancers or autoimmune hepatitis. 

A few risks associated with liver transplant include chances of infection in the body, blocked blood vessels that may restrict blood flow to the new liver, bile leakage, the temporarily non-functioning new liver. The new liver may be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Rejection in case of any organ transplant is not uncommon as it’s the body’s normal reaction to a foreign tissue or object. Doctors administer anti-rejection medicines to enable the new liver to survive in the patient’s body. 

India is one of the countries where you can undergo a liver transplant surgery at a low cost

Other Details for Liver Transplant Surgery in India:

    • Cost of Liver Transplant in India: USD 28500
    • Stay in India: 2 months.
    • List of documents needed for transplant approval in India.
    • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)*

*Note: Treatment Possible provides Service Apartments for liver transplant patients free of cost.

Lung Transplant 

A lung transplant is a surgery that replaces a diseased or failing lung with a healthy donor lung. The lung transplant can be done for one or both the lungs. This transplant procedure can be done for all age groups including newborns and adults aged up to 65 years and above. Certain conditions that can damage the lungs include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and sarcoidosis. 

The major types of lung transplant include:

  • Single lung transplant where one lung is replaced 
  • Double lung transplant where both the lungs are replaced
  • Bilateral sequential transplant or a bilateral single transplant, where both the lungs are replaced but the procedure entails replacing one lung at a time. 
  • A heart-lung transplant is a clinical procedure where both lungs and heart are taken from a single donor.

In most cases, lungs are transplanted from deceased donors and the process is known as a cadaveric transplant. Adults with a healthy lung are also eligible to donate a part of their lungs known as the lobe. This type of transplant is referred to as a living transplant. Individuals who donate a lung lobe can lead a healthy life even with the remaining lungs.

A few risks of lung transplant include infection, blockage of airways or blood vessels to the lungs, accumulation of fluid in the lungs (severe pulmonary edema), clotting of blood, and rejection of new lung. 

Other Details for Lung Transplant Surgery in India:

  • Cost of Lung Transplant in India: USD 45000
  • Stay in India: 2-6 months (depends on availability of donor).
  • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)

Hand Transplant

Hand transplant is a treatment option in which people with either one or both amputated hands can get new hands(s). The surgical procedure entails transplanting a donor hand or two along with a portion of the forearms from a deceased person to the recipient. People who’ve lost their hand sensations or functions can regain it and enjoy an improved quality of life. Like other organ transplant surgeries, the follow on medication does include immunosuppressants and routine check-up with the doctor.

Hand transplant is major surgery. A few risks associated with this transplant surgery include chances of infection, bleeding, thrombosis (clotting). In case, the recipient experiences clotting, it could lead to decreased blood flow to the hand causing damage to the new hand and would need immediate surgery for the necessary repair.

The major risk associated with hand transplant is that of rejection. This happens when the recipient’s immunity system attacks the foreign hand transplanted into the body. Just like the immune system tries to safeguard the body from viral and bacterial attacks in a normal body, similarly, when a new hand is transplanted, the body tries to protect itself by attacking the new hand. This can destroy the new hand. 

There are two ways in which rejection can take place. In the case of acute rejection, the recipient’s immune system tries to destroy the tissues in the new hand. The immune system of the recipient could send antibodies to attack the blood vessels and tissues in the new hand. Common symptoms of acute rejection include swelling of the arm, rash or colour change of the skin on the new hand or arm. This kind of rejection can be controlled by appropriate medication although in rare cases, the new hand might have to be removed. 

An acute rejection does not disqualify the recipient from undergoing another hand transplant but the chances of matching it with a donor’s hand could become difficult. 

The other form of rejection that a recipient could face post hand transplant surgery is the chronic transplant. This does not surface immediately but can happen over some time. Some symptoms of a chronic hand transplant rejection include painful hands, visible changes in the fingernails, loss of hair on the hand or that developing a condition where the hand loses its function. 

A hand transplant surgery can take anywhere between 18-24 hours. Once the donor’s hand is ready to be transplanted to the recipient’s arm, the surgeons first attach the bones of the new hand to that of the recipient’s arm. This is done with the help of small metal plates. Subsequently, the blood vessels, nerves and tendons are attached using special sutures. After every part of the new hand is attached to the recipient’s arm, the skin is stitched back. 

After the transplant is completed, a special hand therapist and the health care team attending to the recipient will work on physical therapy to enable the recipient to adjust himself to the new hand. Some exercises are taught to get the hand functioning. 

Please contact us for detailed information about Hand transplant in India.

Trachea Transplant

The trachea is the tube in the human body that enables air to travel from one’s mouth to the lungs upon breathing. Trachea transplant is done on individuals with a damaged trachea where they either experience difficulty in breathing or are unable to speak or suffer both the conditions. The transplant program has been introduced to cater to patients with tracheal damage as there is currently no other way of reconstructing the trachea. In some minor cases, patients who sustain tracheal damage may need to undertake a tracheotomy so that the normal breathing is restored. This process involves a surgery where a hole is made in the neck to reinstate normal breathing.

Patients who sustain damage to the trachea are usually left with airways that don’t support life. Such a condition needs surgical resection. Patients after the surgery may face difficulties in speaking with a normal voice because if an external airway created in the neck area. 

Replacement of the diseased trachea is a complex procedure and is recommended in case the patient suffers any of these conditions: 

  • Tracheal neoplasm
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Extensive tracheoesophageal fistulas
  • Any unsuccessful surgery for benign tracheal diseases
  • Sometimes in case of tracheal stenosis

Pancreas Transplant 

Pancreas transplant has emerged as a vital treatment for people living with Type 1 diabetes. People who have Type 2 diabetes and require insulin therapy can also undergo a pancreas transplant although this is competitively less common. Pancreas transplant aims at restoring normal blood glucose levels in the body of a person whose existing pancreas is unable to produce or manage the body’s blood glucose level. A healthy transplanted pancreas from a donor will be able to produce insulin that is required to manage the blood glucose levels in the recipient’s body. A pancreas transplant is primarily done for people suffering from diabetes and may not treat people with any other conditions such as cancer. 

There are different types of pancreas transplants. Patients with diabetic nephropathy in which the patient experiences kidney damage caused due to diabetes can undergo a transplant of the pancreas and kidney at the same time.

The pancreas can be donated by any person who is brain dead but is alive on an external life-support machine. The donor’s pancreas needs to meet the common transplant criteria which also include being of a certain age and having a healthy body. The donor’s pancreas must match the recipient’s body in terms of the immunity level. This is important so that the risk of rejection of the transplanted pancreas is minimized. Living pancreatic donors are uncommon and in most cases happen to be a close relative of the recipient. In such a case, the living donor gives away a part of his pancreas to the diseased instead of the entire organ. 

In a pancreas transplant surgery, the surgeon cuts the centre of the recipient’s abdomen and paces the tissue from the donor in his lower abdomen. This is attached to the new section of the new small intestine containing the part of the pancreas to that of the recipient’s small intestine. The recipient’s existing pancreas is usually left in his body itself. 

Like in any other transplant surgery, a pancreas transplant does come with the risk of rejection. Sometimes, a recipient might experience the risk of donor transplant failure although the risk is minimal; thanks to the post-surgery immunosuppressant medication. Other possible risks associated with a pancreas transplant include bleeding, clotting and chances of infection. Some patients could suffer from high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) either during or right after the transplant surgery. 

Skin Transplant 

Also commonly known as skin grafting, skin transplant is a surgical procedure in which skin is removed from one area of the body and moved or transplanted to a different part of the body. Often, this surgery is performed when a patient’s body loses his protective layer of the skin. Common conditions in which a person may undergo skin transplantation include skin infections, injury, deep burns or other skin-related illness. 

Skin grafting or transplant is performed by a specialist surgeon under general anaesthesia. There different types of skin transplants include split-thickness graft and full-thickness graft. In the former, the top layer of the skin (epidermis) along with a deeper layer (dermis) is removed and replaced by healthy skin taken from another part of the same individual’s body. This grafting process is used to cover large skin areas. Also, split-thickness grafts look paler than the adjoining skin and don’t usually grow as fast as un-grafted skin. The skin graft in the split-thickness graft is typically harvested from either the outer or front part of thigh, abdomen, back or buttocks. 

Full-thickness graft or transplant is a grafting process where the entire epidermis and dermis from the donor’s body is removed to be replaced by skin taken from the forearm, abdomen, and groin or from above the clavicle. In this procedure, the skin transplanted is usually smaller. This grafting surgery is for smaller wounds on largely visible parts of the body. This is a common treatment for grafting damaged skin on the face and blends well with the skin around it.

For the skin graft, the cosmetic surgeon starts preparing the graft for several weeks in advance. The surgery is done by first removing the skin from the donor site of the patient and then carefully transplanted on to the graft area. It is secured with surgical staples, stitches and dressing. In case of a split-thickness graft, it can be given the form of a mesh where the surgeon will punch holes in the graft to stretch the skin. Over some time, the mesh can cause the skin to appear as a fish-net. Meshing is done to ensure that minimum skin is harvested from the donor site. This process also enables the fluid to drain under the grafted skin so that it does not fail. 

Usually, the graft starts developing blood vessels and boding with the skin within 36 hours of the transplant but if it doesn’t there’s a possibility that the body rejects the graft. This could be caused due to several reasons. Some of these include infection, accumulating fluid or blood under the graft. Sometimes the severe movement of the graft on the wound could be a cause of rejection. Typically in such situations, another grafting surgery is done to repair it. It could take up to a week or two for the graft site to heal and your doctor might recommend that you avoid doing activities that could stretch or injure the graft site. 

Uterus Transplant 

Uterus transplant or uterine transplantation is a treatment for women who are either born without a uterus or had to get it removed. Also, women with a non-functioning uterus can get a healthy uterus with this transplant. It is mostly done to treat women with AUI (absolute uterine factor infertility). Women with AUI cannot carry a pregnancy owing to this condition of the uterus. 

A uterus can be donated by either a living donor or a deceased donor. The process of uterus transplant has an extensive screening method and is not for everyone facing a fertility issue. 

The eligibility criteria for a recipient intending a uterus transplant are as follows:

  • It is done for women with AUI
  • Women who lost their uterus due to conditions such as fibroids or cancer or have other uterine malformations. 
  • Women born without a uterus
  • She should be aged between 18-40 years with working ovaries
  • Should have a BMI of less than 30
  • Should be free of cancer for at least 5 years
  • Should not have a history of diabetes 
  • Tested negative for HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes and Hepatitis B and C 

The donor must be aged between 40-60 years and should not be suffering from any active infections like tuberculosis or other medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. 

The treatment involves physical examinations, psychological tests and medical diagnosis of both the donor and recipient. The surgeon could also ask for a government authority approved NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the patient. 

The procedure of a uterine transplant involves removing a uterus from a donor to a recipient through the microvascular anastomosis. Once all the primary blood vessels connected to the uterus is surgically anastomosed for the recipient and donor, the next step of placing the new uterus is carried out. While the complete vascular network can be connected, the fallopian tubes cannot be put together. The process of conceiving is thus mostly focussed on implanting the frozen embryo. The recipient should undergo supervised ovarian hyperstimulation along with egg collection for at least one month before the transplant surgery; especially if the recipient is preparing for a pregnancy thereafter. Once the female conceives, she would have to deliver the baby by undergoing a caesarean-section. It is not possible to go for normal delivery in case of a uterus transplant as it could result in excessive pressure creation on the uterus thereby developing a potential condition for organ failure.  

A pregnant woman who has undergone a uterus transplant has to undergo regular sonography as there could be a multitude of risks involved and this pregnancy is termed as a high-risk one. 

A uterus transplant surgery is a complicated one and has certain risks for both the recipient and the donor. Some of these factors include a possible organ rejection and other risks associated with the surgery. Some women face high-risk pregnancies after undergoing a uterus transplant. 

Post-surgery, the recipient has to start the immunosuppressant medication regimen so that the body doesn’t reject the transplanted donor uterus. For patients undertaking a uterus transplant as a step towards becoming pregnant, the process begins only after the person heals. This could take anywhere between 6-12 months. Once healed, depending on the medical condition ad overall health of the recipient, a single embryo is placed into her uterus. If she becomes pregnant, she will be monitored by a team of obstetricians until she delivers the baby. 

Other Details for Uterus Transplant Surgery in India:

  • Cost of Uterus Transplant in India: USD 18000
  • Stay in India: 1 months.
  • List of documents needed for transplant approval in India.
  • Cost of stay outside Hospital in a fully equipped Service Apartment– USD 850 (Per Month)

Conclusion 

With the emergence of state-of-the-art medical platforms, transplant in India has been hitting a huge success rate. It is a legalized process and as concerning the regulations the Union Health Ministry has made it mandatory for foreign nationals seeking organ and tissue transplant in India to be registered as per the policy. With the top health care institutes and hospitals in India, you can expect only world-class comprehensive multi-organ transplantations. The excellent infrastructure and superior transplant surgeons along with their allied teams work with the organ donors and recipients before, through and after the surgery to ensure the best outcome. 

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