used process than organ transplantation, says Dr Gajiwala. Processing for gamma sterilisation includes checking if a tissue is free of potentially communicable disease. Autografts— taking tissue from one’s body— are ideal for avoiding infection and for maximum immunological acceptance from the body. But it is restricted by various factors: There is a limit to the amount of tissue that can be taken from one’s own body, it needs a second surgery and costs spiral. Banking means tissue can be tested for grafts and bone that is normally discarded during surgery, like femoral heads removed during hipreplacement surgery or tibial heads removed during knee- replacement surgery, which can be turned into bone powder. “I call this the body- recycling unit,” Dr Gajiwala jokes. A transplant coordinator is now mandatory at tissue banks to liaise with hospitals. This allows next- of- kin and patients to know more about such options.
Placenta is separated in the processing room into amnion and chorion. Amnion, freeze- dried here and sold in off- the- shelf packets, is revolutionising treatment of radiation ulcers, bed sores, burns and treatment of patients who are HIV positive. The wound is moistened with saline and the freezedried dressing is applied on it straight, sticking to and healing the area in anywhere between eight days and six weeks. This allows a cancer patient to continue with his or her radiation cycle uninterrupted. It costs a tenth of conventional dressing, and being bioorganic, doesn’t need replacement.
It is also transparent, allowing a doctor to inspect the healing process. It forms a scab over the skin, leaving no scars, which allows for a natural healing. Dentists, says Dr Gajiwala, are the biggest clients of her tissue bank’s bone resources. Bone powder is used to fill bone pockets and in the treatment of cysts. The TMH Tissue Bank uses only living donors. It had 2,800 donors in 2012, and performed 8,978 grafts of all kinds. They have used 10,000 tissues over the last year in the hospital itself, but also supply to 70 hospitals around the country.