Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is a surgery to replace a diseased or damaged kidney with a donor kidney. The donor may be a relative or friend. The donor can also be someone who has died and donated the organs.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs.

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
    • Passing no or only small amounts of urine
    • Pain, burning, urgency, frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
    • Vomiting, black or tarry stools, diarrhea, or constipation
    • Abdominal pain or cramping
    • Sore throat or mouth sores
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or any chest pain
    • Coughing up blood
    • Severe headache
    • Headache, confusion, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
    • Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
    • Weight gain greater than three pounds in one day

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A kidney transplant is a surgery to replace a diseased or damaged kidney with a donor kidney. The donor may be a relative or friend. The donor can also be someone who has died and donated the organs.

    Anatomy of the Kidney
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure


    A kidney transplant is done to replace a kidney that is no longer working and cannot be fixed. It may also be done if the kidney has been removed. A kidney transplant is only needed if both kidneys are not working.
    Common causes of
    kidney failure
    include:


    • Uncontrolled
      high blood pressure

    • Uncontrolled
      diabetes
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Interstitial nephritis
    • Glomerulonephritis
    • Polycystic kidney disease

    • Damage from severe
      pyelonephritis
      , which is swelling in the kidney, often due to a bacterial infection

  • Possible Complications

    If you are planning to have a kidney transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

    • Infection
    • Urinary/ureteral obstruction
    • Bleeding
    • Rejection of the new kidney
    • Urine leakage into the body
    • Blood clot
    • Damage to blood vessels or nerves
    • Damage to nearby organs
    • Cancer risk due to prolonged use of immunosuppressive drugs

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Smoking
    • Pre-existing medical conditions, especially certain heart, lung, and liver diseases
    • Autoimmune disease
    • Current infection
    • HIV infection
    • Young age or increased age—of either you or the donor
    • Poorly matching tissue between you and the donor
    • Prior failed transplant
    • Pregnancy
    • Conditions that will likely result in a recurrence of kidney failure in the new kidney
    • Cancer

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.