Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Transplant Surgery Abroad Rife With Risks

Researchers Find Higher Rates of Rejection, Infection; Cite Lack of Proper Controls Abroad


The buying and selling of human tissue is illegal in the United States, but it's not unlawful for people to go abroad to buy organs, Lipshutz says.

"It's a big risk for people who go abroad, but it's also a big ethical issue," Lipshutz tells WebMD, adding that it's likely some organs transplanted overseas come from prisoners.

In a news release accompanying the study, the researchers say the higher incidence of infectious complications in those who went abroad "may reflect a number of issues related to tourism, including difficulties maintaining and monitoring immunosuppression during the transition of care."

Other factors for poorer outcomes include "the lack of preventive care for infections early after transplantation, the varying infectious disease characteristics of different countries, and the unclear means of selecting donors in many of these cases," it says.

The researchers could not determine how many tourists received kidneys from vendors. Some received kidneys from deceased humans, and at least two from blood relatives.

"Most of those people are desperate to be off dialysis," Lipshutz says, "so they go overseas."

Allan Kirk, MD, of Emory University in Atlanta, says the study clearly showed the danger of overseas transplants.

"Moving to an environment that is just sewing a kidney in doesn't take advantage of a multidisciplinary team approach" patients need, Kirk says.

Kidney transplantation isn't "thoroughly vetted" overseas as it is in the U.S., he says.

About 20 million Americans have some evidence of chronic kidney disease and are at risk of developing kidney failure, according to the American Society of Nephrology. Some 485,000 Americans require ongoing treatment, such as dialysis.

1 | 2

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing