Tissue supply chain

Our unique service controls the whole supply chain of tissue from donor referral to surgery

The supply chain stages

Control at every stage of the supply chain lets us guarantee the highest safety and quality standards. Thus minimising risk to patients.

Stage 1: Donor referral

We operate two tissue supply programmes:

Deceased donor programme - the initial step is the referral of a potential donor to our National Referral Centre. A team of specially trained nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The nurses ensure that the consent for donation complies with all the regulatory and legislative requirements. They also confirm that the donor’s medical and behavioural history is acceptable for the tissue to be used for transplantation.

Living donor programme - the tissue banked in the largest volume from living donors is femoral heads from primary hip replacements. In this case, the bone is a by product of surgery, however, all aspects of its collection, packaging and storage are strictly controlled by link nurses in the operating theatres who have been fully trained and audited, and who strictly follow 'standard operating procedures' issued by Tissue and Eye Services.

Stage 2: Tissue retrieval

This is carried out or directly supervised by our own skilled teams using sterile, and where possible, disposable instruments. A surgical aseptic technique is used to remove tissues from the donor. This process ensures a high degree of control over the retrieval technique and the instruments being used. It is essential to ensure the quality of tissues and minimise the risk of cross-infection.

Stage 3: Transfer to our tissue bank

This is done using temperature controlled transport.

Stage 4: Processing and banking of tissue

Quality control checks are carried out to ensure the tissue is suitable for use. Once approved, the tissue grafts are made available for issue.

Stage 5: Grafts issued to surgeons in the UK

This is on a first come, first served basis. Transportation of the grafts is controlled according to strict temperature requirements, to ensure safety and quality.

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0845 607 6820


0845 607 6819

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