Types of organ transplants

Types of organ transplants

1. Heart transplant

  • A healthy heart from a donor who has suffered brain death is used to replace a patient’s damaged or diseased heart.
  • Singapore’s first heart transplant was carried out in July 1990.
  • Due to the complexity of this procedure; strict medical criteria is imposed; in assessing whether a donor’s heart is suitable for transplant; also whether a potential recipient is suitable to receive the transplant.
  • Deceased donor heart transplants are performed three to six times a year in Singapore, partly due to a scarcity of donors.

2. Lung transplant

  • One lung or both lungs from a recently deceased donor are used to replace a patient’s diseased lung or lungs.
  • Singapore’s first lung transplant was performed in November 2000.
  • Because of strict medical criteria for suitability of lung donors; as of end-2009, only nine lung transplants have been performed locally.

3. Liver transplant

  • A patient’s diseased liver is replaced with a healthy liver graft from a donor. Donor livers can be obtained from deceased donors; or a family member may choose to donate a portion of his liver to the patient.
  • Singapore’s first liver transplant was performed in September 1990.


4. Pancreas transplant

  • Singapore’s first simultaneous pancreas as well as kidney transplant was performed in 2012. This type of transplant is commonly done on type 1 diabetics whose pancreas don’t work properly.


5. Cornea transplant

  • Corneal donation restores vision to those blinded by corneal disease. A damaged or cloudy cornea can also be replaced surgically with a healthy, normal cornea; donated by another individual , during a corneal transplantation.
  • The Singapore Eye Bank, which provides corneal tissue from local as well as foreign donors for transplant; reported a 26-year record of 236 cornea donations in 2016. That figure, the highest since its inauguration, broke the previous record of 222 donations in 2015.

ALSO READ: 1st baby born from deceased donor’s organ womb


6. Trachea transplant

  • The windpipe or trachea is a cartilaginous tube descending from the larynx to the bronchi and into the lungs.
  • A trachea transplant can help patients who suffer from hardening as well as narrowing of their windpipe.


7. Kidney transplant

  • A kidney for transplant can be taken from a living or dead donor.
  • Singapore’s first deceased donor renal transplant was performed in 1970; the first from a living donor was carried out in 1976. Since then, more than 1,000 deceased donor and also over 500 living donor transplants have been done.


8. Skin transplant

  • Donor skin has been found to be an effective treatment option for patients suffering from severe burn injuries; as well as acting as a temporary dressing; and also allowing and promote healing until a patient is ready for grafting using his own skin.
  • The Skin Bank, started in 1998 by SGH ’s Burns Centre, recovers, prepares and also preserves donated skin for burns treatment. Skin must be recovered within 15 hours of a donor’s death; however it can be stored at very cold temperatures for many years.


9. Vascular tissues transplant

  • Transplanting vascular tissues that circulate blood around the body can help relieve symptoms of breathlessness; and also tiredness; as well as dizzy spells in patients with severe cardiovascular conditions.
  • Vascular tisues can be donated up to 24 hours after death.







  • The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) allows for the kidneys, heart, liver as well as corneas to be removed in the event of death from any cause for the purpose of transplantation.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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