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Tissue Recovery Technician

Obtain tissues for use in transplants.

What does a Tissue Recovery Technician do?

A Tissue Recovery Technician’s job is to surgically remove, store, and transport human tissue from deceased organ and tissue donors. Like a fabric store that supplies material to a Seamstress when she needs to sew a garment, the Tissue Recovery Technician supplies tissue to a Transplant Surgeon when she needs to perform a transplant procedure.

After all, a Transplant Surgeon is a lot like a Seamstress. Rather than a dress or gown for a Model, however, she’s sewing life-saving surgical procedures for transplant patients. When you’re a Tissue Recovery Technician, you help the Transplant Surgeon source her material from generous organ and tissue donors.

You’re similar to an Organ Recovery Technician, except that you harvest tissues – including bone, skin, corneas, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, arteries, veins, and heart valves – instead of organs. Unlike organs, which must be transplanted immediately, tissue can be stored for long periods of time until it can be matched with the appropriate recipient – provided it’s harvested quickly, of course.

Your job, then, is traveling to hospitals, funeral homes, and Coroner ‘s offices to recover tissue from deceased donors before it begins to decay. This involves delicately removing viable tissues without damaging them, then sterilizing and storing them in a way that preserves them until they can be transported for storage at a hospital or tissue bank. It also involves a fair amount of recordkeeping, as you’ve got to label and document all tissues appropriately.

Your job as a Tissue Recovery Technician isn’t easy: Because donors can pass away at a moment’s notice, you’re on call 24/7. And, of course, your coworkers – dead bodies – aren’t the liveliest bunch. Still, you can feel good knowing that you’re saving and rebuilding lives, as recovered tissue can save limbs from amputation, restore the appearance of burn victims, and even give sight to the blind!