Kidney Transplant

Kidney Transplant

What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is a surgery that involves taking a healthy kidney from a donor and placing it in a person whose kidneys are no longer working properly.


Where does my new kidney come from?

Kidneys for transplantation can come from living donors or from deceased organ donors. Close family members, spouses, and friends can request a kidney donation. Deceased donor kidneys come from those who chose to donate their organs before death. Potential kidney donors are carefully screened to ensure they are a match. This helps prevent complications.


Why are kidney transplants performed?

Kidney transplants are done to help people with chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease. When your kidneys can no longer filter your blood properly, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.


What are the requirements for a kidney transplant?

Each hospital has its own criteria for accepting people as recipients of a kidney transplant. But in general, applicants must have:

  • End-stage renal disease and being on dialysis.
  • Advanced stage chronic kidney disease approaching the need for dialysis.
  • A life expectancy of at least five years.
  • Full understanding of postoperative care and instructions.

What is the best age for a kidney transplant?

Although most kidney transplant recipients are between the ages of 45 and 65, there is really no upper age limit. However, to ensure the best results, your doctor will likely look for a donor close to your age.

How many kidney transplants can one person have?

In some cases, people may have two, three, or even four kidney transplants in their lifetime.

What prevents you from receiving a kidney transplant?

Kidney transplants are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, there are some general factors that can make a person ineligible for a kidney transplant, such as:

  • A serious health condition that makes surgery dangerous.
  • Recurrent infections.
  • A short life expectancy.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

Regardless of your situation, your doctor can determine if a kidney transplant is a safe treatment option.

What happens during a kidney transplant procedure?

A kidney transplant involves inserting a healthy kidney into the body, where it can perform all the functions that a defective kidney cannot.

Your new kidney is placed on the lower right or left side of your abdomen, where it is surgically connected to nearby blood vessels. Placing the kidney in this position allows it to easily connect to the blood vessels and bladder. The vein and artery from your new kidney are attached to the iliac vein and artery. The ureter from the new kidney is attached to the bladder to allow urine to pass out of the body.


What happens to my old kidneys?

In most cases, your surgeon will leave the diseased kidneys inside your body. However, there are three conditions that may require removal of your old kidneys:

  • Infection that could spread to the new transplanted kidney.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure caused by the original kidneys.
  • Reflux or deposit of urine in the kidneys.


How long does kidney transplant surgery take?

On average, kidney transplant surgery takes two to four hours to complete.


What happens after a kidney transplant?

Most people spend about 10 days in the hospital after a kidney transplant. Your new transplanted kidney can start working right away. Or you may need dialysis temporarily until it starts to work. This could take several days or weeks. You will also need to start taking medicine to prevent your immune system from rejecting your new transplanted kidney.

What will my kidney transplant scar look like?

Your scar will be about 10 cm long, on the right or left side of your lower abdomen.

How long does a kidney transplant last?

The duration of a kidney transplant can vary from person to person. In general, kidneys donated by a living person last longer than kidneys donated by a deceased person. However, on average, transplanted kidneys last at least 10 years.

What are the benefits of kidney transplantation?

After the transplant, you should be able to return to a more normal lifestyle and have more control over your daily life. You can have an unlimited diet and normal fluid intake. If you were dependent on dialysis before your transplant, you'll have more freedom because you won't be tied to your dialysis schedule.

Anemia, a common problem with kidney failure, can be corrected after a transplant. If you have hypertension (high blood pressure), you may take less blood pressure medication after the transplant.

What are the risks of a kidney transplant?

The risks of a kidney transplant are the same as those of any surgery. There is a risk of bleeding, infection, or breathing problems. You may also experience some side effects from medications and be more susceptible to infections, since the medications you take after transplant reduce your body's ability to fight infections.

Kidney transplant rejection

Because your body recognizes the new kidney as a foreign object, it will usually try to get rid of it, or "reject" it. However, you will be given medicine to prevent rejection.

Thanks to years of experience, research, and improved medications that prevent rejection, kidney transplants are highly successful with few post-transplant complications.

Is a kidney transplant better than dialysis?

While both options have advantages and disadvantages, kidney transplantation is often the treatment of choice for chronic kidney disease. This is because permanent dialysis can be exhausting. Kidney transplantation offers a better quality of life for most people, and studies show that kidney transplant recipients live longer on average than those on dialysis.

What is the recovery time after a kidney transplant?

On average, kidney transplant recovery takes about six weeks. It depends on your general health and other factors.


What are some things I can do to take care of myself during my recovery?

It is important to carefully follow all instructions given by your doctor. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous physical labor for at least six to eight weeks after surgery. It is important not to lift anything heavier than 10 kg for two to three months and anything heavier than 20 kg for four to six months from the date of surgery.
  • Avoid driving for at least six weeks after surgery. Please plan ahead so that a friend or family member can help you during this time. When you are in a moving vehicle, always wear your seat belt.
  • Physical exercise. It is advisable to start with stretching and walking exercises. Other great exercises include jogging, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, swimming, and aerobics. All of these can help you regain your strength and can start gradually after the incision has healed.
  • Avoid contact sports as they can damage your transplanted kidney.


Is there any food that I should avoid after my kidney transplant?

When it comes to the food and drinks you consume, there are some tips to follow:

  • Keep hydrated. One of the keys to a successful recovery is staying well hydrated. You should drink plenty of water, usually 2 liters a day. It's also a good idea to limit caffeine. It is a weak diuretic and contributes to dehydration.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked foods. With your immune system weakened, eating raw or undercooked food, especially undercooked meat or eggs, at any time after a transplant puts you at risk of serious illness.
  • Include plenty of protein in your diet. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet with some special dietary considerations. Protein is especially useful because it helps you build muscle and regain weight. Your nutritionist can help you determine how much protein you need. Overdoing it is possible, but you can avoid this problem by avoiding protein supplements.
  • Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice. These fruits can cause a strong reaction when combined with medications that suppress the immune system.
  • Do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some very common over-the-counter medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen, can cause kidney dysfunction. You may also need to avoid taking antihistamines and antacids. These drugs and other over-the-counter drugs can sometimes affect other drugs or change their absorption. Talk to your doctor about the safety of these drugs and possible alternatives you can try.
  • Avoid some vitamins and herbal supplements.


How long can a person live with a kidney transplant?

People can live for many years after receiving a kidney transplant. On average, a living donor kidney lasts 12 to 20 years, while a deceased donor kidney lasts 8 to 12 years. Some people receive more than one kidney transplant in their lifetime.


Can you live a normal life with a kidney transplant?

Yes. Many people lead healthy, fulfilling lives after a kidney transplant. Currently, the one-year kidney transplant survival rate is 95%. The average three to five year survival rate is 90%. This means that 9 out of 10 people who receive a kidney transplant will still be alive five years after surgery. Survival rates are estimates. They cannot tell you how you will respond to treatment or how long you will live.


When can I return to work after my kidney transplant?

Many kidney transplant patients are able to return to work a few months after successful surgery. However, various aspects of the recovery process can affect the length of your recovery. You will need to speak with your surgeon about returning to work. As the time approaches, your provider will give you a "return to work" letter. This will let your employer know when you can start work and what restrictions you have, if any.


When should I contact my doctor?

After your kidney transplant, you will see your medical team for regular checkups. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately:

  • Fever of 38°C or higher.
  • New pain or tenderness around the kidney.
  • Swelling (edema).
  • Flu-like symptoms, including chills, headache, dizziness or nausea, and vomiting.
  • A noticeable decrease in the amount of urine you produce.