Donating Yourself to Plastic Surgery

MakenzieR on 16 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

Hey, organ donors! Did you know that cadavers are used for cosmetic procedures?  

We were fascinated by a recent article on about MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters getting implants from cadavers. They replace their own beaten tissue with a cadaver's to prolong their ability to take and throw punches in the ring.

When I checked that little box at the DMV agreeing to be an organ donor, I imagined that after my tragic death and touching memorial attended by hundreds, my heart or kidney may go to a dying mother-of-three who has been hacking up her lungs in a hospital bed while waiting for good news from the donor agency.

I never thought my tissue may be taking punches from a beefy man in swim shorts. 

It could also be helping someone breathe.

Cadaver rib cartilage is commonly used in revision rhinoplasty. While some of our board-certified physicians believe harvesting your own cartilage is best, they agree there are pros and cons to each.

Then there's AlloDerm, which is a tissue matrix made from human skin. The cells are are stripped away, leaving only a collagen matrix. It's commonly used in breast reconstruction and is debated as an alternative for lip augmentation. Many less-common uses are being discussed on RealSelf.

I like the idea of my tissue helping a breast cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy. But I'm not so sure I want it injected into the lips of a Real Housewife. Although, that may get me a few degrees closer to Kevin Bacon.

Before anyone gets their panties in a twist--I am not 100% certain that the cadavers used in these procedures come from organ donors. We are going to inquire with some of our RealSelf physicians. If you have any knowledge or thoughts to add, please leave a comment!

Photo credit: Flickr user Mark Coggins