Transplantation places one healthy kidney into your abdomen. This one kidney is sufficient to replace the work of your two failed kidneys.
A kidney transplant can be the first form of treatment you receive or it can be selected later after receiving dialysis treatments for some time. Transplantation is the preferred treatment for certain people.
You may receive a transplant from a living related donor, a donor who is not related but willing to donate a kidney, or you may receive a kidney from someone who has recently died (deceased donor).
There is a regional matching service that is funded by the federal government. It updates the list of those waiting for a kidney, does the blood typing and tissue matching for the possible deceased donor transplant.
If a living donor is willing to give you a healthy kidney, this donor must be evaluated for medical fitness and compatible blood type. Depending on the type of donor, waiting time for a kidney will vary. The wait for a deceased donor kidney will be longer than that for a living donor due to the shortage of deceased donor kidneys. The surgery will take from 2 to 4 hours and your stay in the hospital will be 5-7 days.
Your doctor will prescribe several new medications to prevent rejection by your body of your new kidney. You will have to take these medications as long as the transplanted kidney works. Transplantation can offer you the greatest potential to return to a healthy and productive life.
Get more information on kidney transplantation from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The information is also available in español.
Page last updated: 9/16/2015