Many times, certain conditions may cause irreparable damage to the organs, leading to their dysfunction. Theoretically, if the organ can be replaced with a functional one, then the body can again come to homeostasis. Some organs in the body can be replaced if they become non-functional. These organs include the kidney, liver, heart, and pancreas.
A Kidney transplant is the best option to treat end-stage kidney disease or kidney failure. It involves the replacement of the damaged kidney with a healthy new kidney from the donor. This surgery has a high success rate with the patients reporting increased stamina and energy after the transplant. Patients who undergo kidney transplant can enjoy more freedom without the need for dialysis.
Before the surgery
You will be examined for the health of your other organs such as the heart and lungs to make sure that you do not have any condition that may harm the transplanted kidney or interfere with your general health.
Before having the surgery, you need to undergo certain tests to ensure that the donor’s kidney matches with your blood and tissue types. This helps to reduce or prevent the chances of rejection of the external kidney by your immune system.
When the transplant center finds a suitable kidney, you will receive a call to come to the center. You must not eat or drink anything for a few hours before your surgery. Carry the medications which you are currently taking along with you. Take some clothes necessary during your hospital stay.
As you arrive at the center, you may have to undergo the tests you have already undergone to ensure safety with the transplant.
During the surgery
The surgery takes about 3 hours for completion. Before beginning the surgery, you will be given an anesthetic injection to prevent the painful experience.
As the anesthetic produces its effect, your surgeon will make an incision in your lower abdomen. Through this cut, the donor kidney is positioned appropriately. Following this, the blood vessels present around the kidneys are surgically connected to the new kidney. This allows the proper functioning of the newly transplanted kidney. The final step is to connect the ureteral tube to the new kidney and the urinary bladder. A small tube (i.e. stent) may be inserted into this ureteral tube to help in the proper flow of urine for some days, after which it is removed.
After properly placing the kidneys and making the connections, the incision is closed with biodegradable sutures.
After the surgery
Immediately after the surgery, medications are provided to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney. You may have some slight pain after recovery from anesthesia. Your doctor will prescribe you the necessary painkillers.
You may have to stay in the hospital for over a week after the surgery. You must come for follow-up visits as scheduled by your doctor, who will be monitoring your kidney functioning.
Certain complications can occur after the surgery such as severe infection, bleeding, rejection or reactions to anesthesia. Talk to your doctor if you have them. They will give you remedial treatment.
The new kidney starts functioning normally immediately after the surgery if it is transplanted from a live donor. Otherwise, it may take a few days or weeks to function normally during which you may have to undergo dialysis. You will be able to get back to your normal activities within a few months.
A Kidney transplant is usually a successful therapy with nearly 85-90% patients getting benefited. If the surgery fails, the patients can still continue to undergo dialysis for some time after which they may plan for the surgery again.