Transplants are medical procedures that replace diseased organs, tissues, or cells in the body with a healthy parts from someone else. Transplants are often done when these diseased organs, tissues, and cells don’t get better with standard medical treatments. Transplant procedures are most commonly done to replace:
- Corneas (the clear tissue on the front of the eye)
- Stem cells (cells that turn into all different kinds of blood cells when they mature)
Transplant risks depend on the type of transplant. Most types of transplants require surgery while some do not. Transplants that require surgery have these risks:
- Blood clots
- Organ failure or rejection
- Heart attack, stroke, or death
Transplant-related side effects depend on the type of transplant, but are often due to the medicines prescribed. The medicines, called anti-rejection medicines, keep your body from fighting against the new, organ, tissue, or cells. Anti-rejection medicines may have some of these side effects:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Bone disease
- Kidney problems
- Liver disease
Most of these side effects will go away over time. Talk about your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider.
Stem cell transplants are like blood transfusions which involve transferring blood into a blood vessel and generally don’t require surgery.
The benefits of a transplant may include:
- Prolonging your child’s life
- Improving your child’s quality of life
- Better eye vision (from cornea transplant)
You and your child can prepare for a transplant by:
- Completing a medical exam with your child’s doctor
- Providing a complete medical history
- Completing an evaluation with your child’s transplant team
- Making a plan with the transplant team
- Identifying people who can offer help and support during and after the transplant
- Preparing your home to make it safe and comfortable after your child returns from the hospital
Most transplants require surgery to remove a diseased organ or tissue and replace it with healthy parts. Stem cell transplants are like blood transfusions and generally don’t require surgery.
Your child will have regular follow-up visits with your child’s transplant team, primary care doctor, and any other recommended medical specialists. They will closely monitor the results of your child’s transplant and your child’s health over time. They will help you understand the results as they become available.
A member of your child’s transplant services team will talk with you about plans for home care, transportation to medical appointments, and housing, if needed. Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with your child’s transplant team, primary care doctor, and any other recommended medical specialists. Additional follow-up requirements will depend on the type of your child’s transplant.