Kidney Transplantation Facts
What is a kidney transplant?
A kidney transplant is done by placing a kidney from a live or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.
What are the functions of the kidneys?
Kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from the blood. When they lose their filtering ability, high levels of fluid and waste accumulate in the body, leading to kidney failure.
When does a kidney transplant become necessary?
In End stage kidney disease, the kidneys can function at only a fraction of the normal capacity. Patients with this stage of kidney failure will either need to have waste removed from their bloodstream through dialysis or have a kidney transplant to stay alive.
How are the kidneys obtained for a transplant?
Only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys, which means that compatible persons can donate one of their kidneys safely. Laparoscopy is usually used to remove the donor kidney. Advantages include less pain, shorter hospital stay, a more rapid return to normal activities, and a smaller, less noticeable scar.
Alternatively, patients awaiting transplant will go on a kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor.
How is the kidney transplant performed?
The new kidney is placed in the lower abdomen. Unless existing kidneys are causing complications such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, pain or infection, they are left in place. The blood vessels of the new kidney are attached to blood vessels in the lower part of the abdomen. The new kidney’s ureter is connected to the urinary bladder. kidney transplant surgery usually lasts about three to four hours.
What happens post-transplant?
After a successful kidney transplant, the new kidney will filter blood and also start producing urine.
To prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney, medications to suppress the immune system will have to be taken lifelong.
Why have a kidney transplant?
Most patients say that getting a kidney transplant improves the quality of their lives. They feel better and have more energy to spend time with their family, pursue hobbies, travel and go back to work. Patients also say they have more time – time that would have been spent on dialysis treatments. Kidney transplant patients generally have a longer life expectancy than those patients who stay on dialysis. Transplants last on average for 10 to 20 years.