A kidney transplant is an option that requires a major surgery. During a transplant, a healthy donor kidney is placed into your body. The healthy kidney then takes over the work that your kidneys can no longer do.
Dialysis may be needed while waiting for your transplant. Transplantation is a treatment, not a cure - it requires lifelong medications and the risk of your body rejecting the new kidney is a possibility.
Where do donor kidneys come from?
The healthy donor kidney can be from a suitable living donor, or a cadaver donor, which is an organ donor who has decided to donate their organs when they die. Living donors must be free of any health problems, and their blood type must match the patient's. Your transplant team will order procedures and tests to determine if you can accept the donor kidney.
Not everyone is eligible for a kidney transplant. Your doctor and healthcare team can help determine if transplantation is possible for you.
Placing a new kidney
During the surgery, a healthy kidney is placed deep under the muscle of the abdomen, near your hipbone. Typically, the diseased kidney(s) are not removed. In rare cases, the non-working kidneys may be removed to control infection or high blood pressure. Rejection can be a major complication of kidney transplantation. Unfortunately, even drugs can sometimes fail to stop the body from rejecting a transplanted kidney. If this happens, you need to go back on dialysis and possibly wait for another donor kidney.
How do I take care of my transplanted kidney?
- Take your medicine every day
- See your doctors regularly
- Follow your doctor's guidelines
- Control your diet
- Keep active