Kidney Transplant (With Donor)

A kidney transplant is surgery to place a healthy kidney into a person with kidney failure. End-stage kidney disease is a condition when the kidneys no longer remove wastes and excess fluids, and manage electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) and minerals. They also no longer make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy.

As a result, harmful wastes build up in your body. Your blood pressure may rise, and your body may hold on to excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells.

The most common cause of end-stage kidney disease in the U.S. is diabetes.

In such cases only two option - dialysis and kidney transplantation- are available. Kidney transplantation means replacement of the failed kidneys with a working kidney from another person, called a donor.

The donated kidney may be from:

Living related donor: Related to the recipient, such as a parent, sibling, or child.
Living unrelated donor: Like a friend or spouse
Deceased donor: A person who recently died and who has no known chronic kidney disease.

The healthy kidney is transported in cool salt water (saline) that preserves the organ for up to 48 hours. This gives the health care providers time to perform tests that
match the donor's and recipient's blood and tissue before the operation.

People receiving a kidney transplant are given general anesthesia before surgery. The surgeon makes a cut in the lower belly area and the new kidney is placed inside your lower belly. The artery and vein of the new kidney are connected to the artery and vein in your pelvis. Your blood flows through the new kidney, which makes urine just like your own kidneys did when they were healthy. The tube that carries urine (ureter) is then attached to your bladder.

Your own kidneys are left in place, unless they are causing high blood pressure, infections, or are too large for your body. The wound is then closed.

Kidney transplant surgery takes about 3 hours. People with diabetes may also have a pancreas transplant done at the same time. This will usually add another 3 hours to the surgery.

The recovery period is about 6 months. Often, your doctor will ask you to stay fairly close to the hospital for the first 3 months. You will need to have regular check-ups with blood tests and X-rays for many years.

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