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Donating your femoral head to the bone bank

Josephine

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These have been in use for around 30 or more years! Every theatre has a small under-counter freezer and all hip patients are asked to donate. Consent has to be obtained for using any donated human tissue.

During the surgery, the floor nurses opens a packet and takes out a double sterilised plastic pot and a new plastic bag, also two blood tubes. She opens the pot and empties the inner one onto the instrument trolley. The tubes she gives to the anaesthetist to fill. The scrub nurse puts the femoral head in the pot she has and screws it up tight, dropping it back into the bigger pot proffered by the floor nurse who does likewise. That pot and the blood tubes are then labelled with the stickies from her notes and put into the bag which is also labelled and then sealed. The package is then put in the freezer and the next day a courier calls and collects the femoral heads and takes them to either the hospital or regional bone bank or the Blood Tranfusion Service who also run a bone bank. The blood tubes are kept aside and taken with the femoral head but not frozen.

Once at their destination, the heads are first swabbed and then put in a deep freeze and stored for 3 months while the bloods are tested for a variety of diseases including HIV, HebB and BSE. The bone may be swabbed and cultured for any organism such as Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. Some of these tests take a while to come through but once they do and are clear, the femoral heads are taken out of quarantine and made available for use. Those that fail in the slightest regard are discarded.

I believe each head costs around £3-5k to the recipient hospital.

If you want to know they then get used, you can see here Bone grafts and hip replacements
 
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