What is a Kidney Transplant?
A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy donated kidney is transplanted into your body. A successful kidney transplant will allow you to return to a more normal lifestyle and will free you from dialysis treatments. However, a kidney transplant is not a cure. It is the treatment of choice for kidney failure for those who are considered suitable candidates for a transplant. To find out if you are a candidate, your healthcare team will perform a series of tests as part of a complete medical assessment. Kidney transplantation or renal transplantation is the organ transplant of a kidney in a patient with end-stage renal disease. Kidney transplantation is typically classified as deceased-donor (formerly known as cadaveric) or living-donor transplantation depending on the source of the recipient organ. Living-donor renal transplants are further characterized as genetically related (living-related) or non-related (living-unrelated) transplants, depending on whether a biological relationship exists between the donor and recipient. Kidney transplant surgery takes about 3 hours. During surgery, the donor kidney will be placed in your lower abdomen, blood vessels from the donor kidney will be connected to arteries and veins in your body, and the urethra from the donor kidney will be connected to your bladder. Blood is then able to flow through the new kidney, and the kidney will begin to filter and remove wastes and to produce urine. It is an operation that places a healthy kidney in your body. The transplanted kidney takes over the work of the two kidneys that failed, and you no longer need dialysis. During a transplant, the surgeon places the new kidney in your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Often, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as your blood starts flowing through it. But sometimes it takes a few weeks to start working. Kidney transplantation is a procedure that places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. This one new kidney takes over the work of your two failed kidneys. A surgeon places the new kidney inside your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Your blood flows through the new kidney, which makes urine, just like your own kidneys did when they were healthy. Unless they are causing infection or high blood pressure, your own kidneys are left in place. Kidney transplantation requires intensive education for patients, living donors (if applicable), and family members. The program has produced brochures in English and Spanish regarding all aspects of the transplant process. In addition, recipients and donors receive extensive one-on-one instruction and education by members of the multidisciplinary transplant team. A patient support group for transplant patients is also held on a regular basis, helping recipients find strength and encouragement through the experiences of others. The medical transplant team that currently follows you is responsible for sending the data to UNOS, and updating them as your condition changes. Criteria have been developed to ensure that all people on the waiting list are judged fairly as to the severity of their illness and the urgency of receiving a transplant. Once UNOS receives the data from local hospitals, people waiting for a transplant are placed on a waiting list and given a "status" code. The people in most urgent need of a transplant are placed highest on the status list, and are given first priority when a donor kidney becomes available.