Kidney Transplant

If you are nearing the need for dialysis and would like to explore getting a transplant, start the discussion with your Nephrologist. While transplant requirements vary between centers, you’ll most likely undergo comprehensive medical tests to determine if you are a viable candidate. If you are, then the search for a donor can begin.

There are two types of organ donors: a living donor and a non-living donor, or cadaver. Compatibility between a patient and the donor reduces the chances of organ rejection and can contribute to a more successful transplant. Donors do not always have to be genetically similar to the recipient because medication will help prevent organ rejection.

As soon as an appropriate organ match has been identified, you will be scheduled for surgery. In most cases, your surgeon will leave your kidneys in place and simply place the new, healthy kidney in a different location in your abdomen. You will remain in the hospital for several days after the surgery and be monitored for any complications.

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While your age and health conditions prior to the transplant surgery can affect the risk of complications, there are three common post-transplant concerns.

  • Rejection: Medication will be prescribed to help ensure your body accepts the new kidney.
  • Organ lifespan: The average life span for a donated kidney is 10 to 15 years. When a transplant fails, a patient may opt for a second transplant or return to dialysis.
  • Functionality: In some cases, the newly transplanted kidney begins working right away, while in others it may require dialysis for a few days before it starts functioning normally.