Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves implanting a healthy kidney from one donor, living or deceased, to a person with kidney failure. Receiving a new kidney is not a cure for kidney disease, but a treatment that will require ongoing medications, including immunosuppressants that reduce the risk of your body rejecting the transplanted kidney.
Many patients with kidney failure are suitable candidates for transplantation, but not everyone is.
Whenever possible, a transplant is your best treatment option. If you want to know more about kidney transplantation, talk to you doctor. You should know that your best chance for a successful surgery depends on several factors, including:
Your overall health
To make sure you are healthy enough for surgery, you will need to have a complete medical exam and a series of tests to screen for any medical conditions that may affect your ability to have a good outcome.
A good kidney donor match
For a transplant to be successful, the new kidney must be from a donor who has the same tissue type and compatible blood type. An ideal match is from a living donor, usually a relative, with the same tissue and blood type, whose genetic characteristics are most like your own. If a living donor isn’t an option, you can still have a good match, but you will need to be placed on a kidney donor waiting list.
Talk to your transplant nurse or doctor about the average wait time for a match. A person waiting for a kidney donor will need to stay on dialysis treatment until a kidney is available.
How long does a kidney transplant last?
On average a donor kidney lasts for 10-15 years. This is because the kidney function slowly decreases over time. Thereafter, you always have the option of going on dialysis or trying to find a second donor kidney.
Making an informed choice
Transplantation is a highly personal topic – one that you should give both time and thought to. You should start by speaking to your doctor about your own situation. Speaking to others about the benefits and disadvantages of transplantation may also help you reach a decision on what’s best for you.