What is a bone bank?
The Queensland Bone Bank is responsible for retrieving and distributing bone tissue throughout Queensland and Australia. It was established in 1987 and is now the largest bone bank in Australia.
Where does bone come from?
Bone tissue retrieved by the Queensland Bone Bank comes from those donors whose next of kin has consented to donate after death. Bone tissue is also retrieved from patients who require total hip replacement surgery, where the hip joint is replaced with a prosthesis. This is the Living Donor Program.
Each donor undergoes the most thorough screening and testing techniques available. This process confirms their medical suitability for donation by identifying those potential donors with disqualifying medical conditions and diseases such as Cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis. This screening is carried out to assure that the recipients receives a safe bone transplant.
All bone is retrieved by surgeons and specially trained technicians under sterile conditions – most commonly in a hospital operating room or mortuary.
Why is transplant bone needed?
Bone transplantation is a rapidly growing and expanding field, and has a significant impact on improving the quality of life for recipients in need. Bone transplantation is commonly used in orthopaedic, neurosurgical and plastic surgery. Transplants can replace damaged bone and aid growth into the affected area.
Some examples are:
- Many patients have bone loss as a result of injury. Transplant bone allows the surgeon to rebuild defects as a stage towards functional rehabilitation.
- Many patients with bone tumours face possible amputation. By using large bone transplants surgeons are often able to save the affected limb.
- Many patients require a second or even third revision of a total joint replacement. A lot of these people require transplanted bone to replace deficient bone tissue, thus allowing surgeons to rebuild joints that will allow adequate function.
What do you need to do to be a bone tissue donor?
While you are still alive you can choose to donate your bone tissue upon death. The most important thing to do is to talk to your family, partner and friends about organ and tissue donation. Let them know about your views on donation, and become aware of their views. In the event of your death, your next of kin is always the person contacted to find out what your wishes were in relation to donation. Formalise your decision by recording your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register.
Queensland Bone Bank
Organ and Tissue Donation Service, Division of Chief Health Officer
Queensland Health Scientific Services Campus
39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains QLD 4108
Phone: (07) 3121 2626