You’ll need to be healthy enough to have major surgery and tolerate a strict, lifelong medication regimen after surgery to be a good candidate for a transplant.
You must also be willing and able to follow all instructions from your kidney transplant specialist doctor and take your medications regularly.
If you have a serious underlying medical condition, a kidney transplant might be dangerous or unlikely to be successful. These serious conditions include:
- cancer, or a recent history of cancer
- serious infection, such as tuberculosis, bone infections, or hepatitis
- severe cardiovascular disease
- liver disease
Your Kidney transplant specialist doctor may also recommend that you don’t have a transplant if you:
- drink alcohol in excess
- use illicit drugs
If your kidney transplant specialist doctor thinks you’re a good candidate for a transplant and you’re interested in the procedure, you’ll need to be evaluated at a transplant center.
People Whose Kidneys Have Failed Usually Undergo A Treatment Called Dialysis. This Treatment Mechanically Filters Waste That Builds Up In The Bloodstream When The Kidneys Stop Working.
Some People Whose Kidneys Have Failed May Qualify For A Kidney Transplant. In This Procedure, One Or Both Kidneys Are Replaced With Donor Kidneys From A Live Or Deceased Person.
There Are Pros And Cons To Both Dialysis And Kidney Transplants.
Undergoing Dialysis Takes Time And Is Labor-Intensive. Dialysis Often Requires Making Frequent Trips To A Dialysis Center To Receive Treatment. At The Dialysis Center, Your Blood Is Cleansed Using A Dialysis Machine.
If You’re A Candidate To Have Dialysis In Your Home, You’ll Need To Purchase Dialysis Supplies And Learn How To Use Them.
A Kidney Transplant Can Free You From A Long-Term Dependence On A Dialysis Machine And The Strict Schedule That Goes With It. This Can Allow You To Live A More Active Life. However, Kidney Transplants Aren’t Suitable For Everyone. This Includes People With Active Infections And Those Who Are Severely Overweight.
You’ll Wake Up In A Recovery Room. Hospital Staff Will Monitor Your Vital Signs Until They’re Sure You’re Awake And Stable. Then, They’ll Transfer You To A Hospital Room.
Even If You Feel Great After Your Transplant (Many People Do), You’ll Likely Need To Stay In The Hospital For Up To A Week After Surgery.
Your New Kidney May Start To Clear Waste From The Body Immediately, Or It May Take Up To A Few Weeks Before It Starts Functioning. Kidneys Donated By Family Members Usually Start Working More Quickly Than Those From Unrelated Or Deceased Donors.
You Can Expect A Good Deal Of Pain And Soreness Near The Incision Site While You’re First Healing. While You’re In The Hospital, Your Kidney Transplant Specialist Doctors Will Monitor You For Complications. They’ll Also Put You On A Strict Schedule Of Immunosuppressant Drugs To Stop Your Body From Rejecting The New Kidney. You’ll Need To Take These Drugs Every Day To Prevent Your Body From Rejecting The Donor Kidney.
Before You Leave The Hospital, Your Transplant Team Will Give You Specific Instructions On How And When To Take Your Medications. Make Sure That You Understand These Instructions, And Ask As Many Questions As Needed. Your Kidney Transplant Doctors Will Also Create A Checkup Schedule For You To Follow After Surgery.
Once You’re Discharged, You’ll Need To Keep Regular Appointments With Your Transplant Team So That They Can Evaluate How Well Your New Kidney Is Functioning.
You’ll Need To Take Your Immunosuppressant Drugs As Directed. Your Kidney Transplant Specialist Doctor Will Also Prescribe Additional Drugs To Reduce The Risk Of Infection. Finally, You’ll Need To Monitor Yourself For Warning Signs That Your Body Has Rejected The Kidney. These Include Pain, Swelling, And Flu-Like Symptoms.
You’ll Need To Follow Up Regularly With Your Doctor For The First One To Two Months After Surgery. Your Recovery May Take About Six Months
While dialysis is a life-saving treatment, it does only about 10 percent of the work that a functioning kidney does. Because of its impact on the body, dialysis can also cause other health problems. Patients typically live 10 to 15 years longer with a kidney transplant than if they stayed on dialysis. And most people report that in comparison, transplantation offers them a much better quality of life.
You will need a thorough evaluation by the Transplant Institute staff, in consultation with referring physicians, to determine if transplantation is the best treatment option. Being a good candidate for transplant depends upon your physical health, emotional well-being, and ability to manage medication and care plans.
If at all possible, it is best to have a transplant before you have dialysis or spend a long time on dialysis. Patients who have a living kidney donor have the best chance of avoiding dialysis, or being on dialysis for less time than if they had to wait for a deceased donor kidney. If you have a living donor, it may be possible for you to undergo a "preemptive transplant"; that is, before you ever need dialysis. Studies show that a transplanted kidney from a living donor functions longer, and the recipient lives longer, compared to those patients who have had dialysis prior to transplant.