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Kidney Transplant: What You Need to Know Before Surgery


The kidneys are part of the body whose main function is to filter and remove excess minerals, waste, and fluid and regulate blood pressure. However, there are situations when the kidney is unable to perform its filtering process, and it is known as kidney failure. When the kidney fails to perform its functions, it needs treatment and potentially a transplant. A kidney transplant is done when a patient is suffering from end-stage renal disease, i.e. kidneys lose nearly 90% of their functioning. Here are the things you should be aware of if you need a kidney transplant:

What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney is a medical surgery done to replace a diseased kidney with a healthy kidney from a donor. The kidney may come from the living donor or deceased donor. Family members or others who are a good match donate the kidneys. This type of transplant is known as a living transplant.

People who donate one kidney can live healthy with another kidney. A person getting a transplant gets one kidney. Patients may get two kidneys from a deceased donor, but it’s a rare scenario. The kidney that doesn’t work is usually left in place. The transplanted kidney will be placed in the lower belly on the front side of the body.

Who needs a kidney transplant?

Kidney transplants are usually considered when a person has an End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Compared to dialysis treatment, people who get transplants tend to live longer. Along with this, fewer restrictions on a diet, a better quality of life, and a healthy life.

These are some of the reasons people prefer a kidney transplant to dialysis. A kidney transplant could happen from a deceased donor or a living donor. The reason why living donor transplantations are preferred over the deceased donor is that a living donor has a lower risk and lower the waiting list of a patient.

How to choose a transplant center?

  • Learn how many different transplants the center performs annually. Inquire about the kidney transplant survival rates at the center. Compare transplant center statistics using the database.
  • Determine whether the facility provides any donation programs that could improve your chances of receiving a kidney from a living donor.
  • Verify the Kidney transplant cost. And also about the cost, including tests, surgery, organ donation, transportation, hospital stay, and also about follow-up appointments.
  • Additional services are offered by the transplant center, such as referrals to additional treatments, accommodation close by during the recovery period, and travel arrangements.
  • The center’s dedication to staying current with transplant technology and procedures shows that the program is expanding.

How to get ready for a kidney transplant?

 Excessive testing will be done before you can be placed on the transplant list. The evaluation includes:

  • Mental health evaluation: Social and psychological issues involved in an organ transplant, such as financial issues, stress, and support from family and other important people, are assessed.
  • Diagnostic test: Diagnostic test is done to check your kidney as well as your health status. These tests include CT scan, X-ray, ultrasound, and kidney biopsy. Women may get a gynecology evaluation, a Pap test, and a mammogram.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests are done to find a good donor match and to check your priority on the donor list. It also helps the chances that the donor organ will not be rejected.

Kidney transplant procedure

Blood tests are performed on the patient during the transplant evaluation process to determine the patient’s blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA). It is more likely that the transplanted kidney won’t be rejected if the patient’s and the donor’s HLA-type are compatible.

To confirm that the patient’s antibodies won’t target the donor’s blood, a different test is necessary. A small amount of the patient’s blood is combined with the donor’s blood to do this. If your blood develops antibodies in reaction to the donor’s blood, the transplant cannot be performed.

If the blood test results show no antibody reactivity and a negative cross-match, then the transplant to go ahead.

During surgery and after surgery

Surgery usually takes up to three to four hours. The damaged kidney may not be removed if it does not affect the new kidney.

If a friend or family member is donating a kidney,  then there will be no waiting problem. One doctor will remove the kidney from the donor, and the other doctor will prepare the patient body to receive the donated kidney.

Most people report feeling better immediately after having transplant surgery. For others, it may take a few days for the kidney to start working. You will probably need to stay in the hospital to recover from surgery if you have any problems. You will have a regular follow-up visit after you leave the hospital after the surgery. If you have a living donor, the donor will probably have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. But for a lesser period of time than the receiver.

Transplant rejection

Before you notice any signs, transplant rejection will start. The rejection happens when the immune system attacks the new donated kidney. Early indications of rejection will be found in the routine blood testing you have at the transplant facility.

Because your kidneys are not getting rid of the additional salt and fluid in your body, you can experience high blood pressure or swollen ankles. Contact the doctor who has done the implant right away if you suspect transplant rejection.

When it is caught at an early stage, rejection is treatable. Early symptoms of kidney rejection will be treated by your doctor.

Bottom Line

Kidney transplantation is an excellent choice if you have kidney failure. Just be sure about the Kidney transplant cost and also the quality of treatment provided. Expect maximum transparency on the procedure for a kidney transplant.

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