The kidneys are primarily responsible for filtering blood and removing waste from the body. They also regulate the fluid and electrolyte balance. If the kidneys stop functioning, a patient may need to undergo dialysis or have a renal transplant. Many patients prefer undergoing a transplant as it offers a better quality of life in the long run.
A kidney transplant can be described as a procedure to replace one’s own kidneys with a donor's kidney. In case of kidney transplant, there are two types of donors. The human body can function with one healthy kidney and hence family members and friends of the patient may choose to donate a kidney. Else, a kidney may be sourced from recently deceased donors who have chosen to donate their organs after death. In both cases, it is important that the donor kidney match the patient’s blood and tissue type.
A renal transplant surgery usually takes about 3 hours. The donor kidney is placed in the abdominal cavity and connected to the patient’s arteries, veins and bladder. Usually, the donor kidney begins functioning immediately. The patient’s own damaged or diseased kidneys may not be removed unless there is a severe infection, cancer or a diagnosis of large polycystic kidneys.
The patient will need to be hospitalized for a few days after the surgery. In some cases, dialysis may be needed if the kidneys are unable to produce urine. In addition diuretics and other medication may be needed to remove excess water and salt from the body. Medication will also be prescribed to suppress the immune system so that the patient’s body does not reject the donor kidney. These medications typically need to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.
A renal transplant is considered a relatively safe procedure. Less than 20 out of 100 people reject a donor kidney. However, there are a few other risks involved. These include:
• Severe infection
• Failure of the donor kidney
• Reaction to anesthesia
• Increased risk of infections due to suppressed immune system
Kidney transplant is not advised for people suffering from diseases such as cancer or any significant lung or heart disease. If the patient is suffering from an infection, he or she may be advised to wait until the infection subsides before undergoing a renal transplant. A renal transplant may seem to be an expensive procedure but in the long run, this can work out to be more budget friendly than dialysis. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!