Such re-transplantations are very rare — only possible in unique circumstances in which a recipient of a kidney dies without damaging the kidney, hasn’t had the kidney long enough to wear it out, is a match for someone on the list, and hasn’t developed excessive scar tissue from the previous operation.
But Veale says about 25 percent of recipients of donated kidneys die with a functioning kidney that could be reused. Typically, those kidneys go to waste. If more were salvaged, he thinks, it could save hundreds of lives a year among the more than 80 percent of people on wait lists that never receive a kidney.
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