This is a surgery where a kidney transplant takes place between a healthy and a viable donor and a person with a failed kidney.
The donated kidney can come from:
- A living related donor, related to the recipient, as a parent, a brother or a son.
- An unrelated donor of the recipient such as a friend or a spouse.
- A dead donor; a recently deceased person who has no known chronic kidney disease.
PROCEDURE FOR A LIVING DONOR KIDNEY:
If you are going to donate a kidney, you will be under general anesthesia before the surgery, which means you will be asleep and feel no pain. Currently, surgeons can use smaller surgical incisions with laparoscopic techniques to remove the kidney.
PROCEDURE FOR THE RECIPIENT:
Those who receive a kidney transplant are given general anesthesia before the surgery. The surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdominal area.
The kidneys are left in place unless they are causing a health problem. Then, the wound is closed. The kidney transplant surgery takes about 3 hours. People with diabetes may also need a pancreas transplant at the same time. This can add another 3 hours after surgery.
Why is the procedure performed?
The most common cause of end-stage renal disease in the US is diabetes. However, there are many other causes.
A kidney transplant cannot be done if you have:
- Certain infections such as bone infections or TB
- Liver disease, heart or lung disease
- Other life-threatening diseases
- Recent history of cancer
- Infections such as hepatitis
The risks of a kidney transplant surgery are:
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
- Heart attack or stroke
- Wound infections
- Side effects of drugs used to prevent transplant rejection
- Loss of the transplanted kidney
After the procedure
If you have received a donated kidney, you need to stay in the hospital for about 3 to 7 days. After this, you will need careful monitoring by a doctor and regular blood tests during one to two months. The recovery period is about 6 months. Often, the transplant team will ask you to stay near the hospital during the first 3 months. You need to have regular check-ups with blood tests and x-rays for many years.
If you donate a kidney, more often than not, you can live safely without complications with the remaining kidney for the rest of your life.
Although the treatments to prevent organ rejection help, they put patients at an increased risk of infection and cancer. They may also cause cholesterol and high blood pressure among patients. If you take this medicine, you may need to get screened for cancer. TA successful kidney transplant requires careful co-ordination with the doctor and you always have to take the medicine as instructed.