Science Questions

What do hospitals do with amputated tissue?

Sun, 23rd Nov 2008

Part of the show Burning Science Questions


James asked:

What do hospitals do with amputated tissue?



Kat - In the UK human tissue is regulated by the human tissue authority so there are quite a lot of rules about how youíd have to dispose of it. With some things that are taken off people you may be offered them to take them home, if youíd like to. Most things you probably donít want your diseased leg back. It depends what was wrong with the part of you that has been taken off. For example, it may be sent down to the pathology lab so it can be cut up. You can look at it, you can see what was wrong with it. In some cases with the consent of the person whose tissue it was it may be for research. This happens for things like cancers. We try and bank them so we can study them in the future. Thereís been quite a lot of things in the news, not so much recently, about peopleís organs being stored without consent. If you donít consent to research and they donít want it, you donít want it itíll probably just be destroyed. Usually by incineration. Here in the UK a lot of this disposal is contracted out to companies that take all the nasty body bits and tissue away and burn it somewhere.


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