Many transplanted kidneys come from donors who have died. Some come from a living family member.
The wait for a new kidney can be long. If you have a transplant, you must take drugs for the rest of your life, to keep your body from rejecting the new kidney. Kidney Transplantation Also called: Renal transplantation. See, Play and Learn Images. Resources Reference Desk Find an Expert. Start Here. Treatments and Therapies. Immunosuppressants National Kidney Foundation. Living With. Related Issues.
National Kidney Foundation. Kidney transplant - slideshow Medical Encyclopedia Also in Spanish. But for certain people with kidney failure, a kidney transplant may be more risky than dialysis. Conditions that may prevent you from being eligible for a kidney transplant include:. Only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys, making living-donor kidney transplantation an option. If a compatible living donor isn't available, your name may be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. How long you have to wait for a deceased donor organ depends on the degree of matching or compatibility between you and the donor, time on dialysis and on the transplant waitlist, and expected survival post-transplant.
Some people get a match within several months, and others may wait several years. At Mayo Clinic, surgeons perform more than kidney transplants a year, including numerous complex surgical procedures at campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. As a three-site institution, Mayo Clinic has one of the largest living-donor kidney transplant and paired kidney donor programs in the United States. Our experts have pioneered many procedures, including living-donor kidney transplants and kidney transplant before dialysis is needed.
The Mayo Clinic kidney transplant team has extensive experience in the most complex types of kidney transplantation, including ABO incompatible, positive crossmatch and paired donation kidney transplants. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Kidney transplantation can treat advanced kidney disease and kidney failure, but it is not a cure. Some forms of kidney disease may return after transplant. The health risks associated with kidney transplant include those associated directly with the surgery itself, rejection of the donor organ and side effects of taking medications anti-rejection or immunosuppressants needed to prevent your body from rejecting the donated kidney.
Deciding whether kidney transplant is right for you is a personal decision that deserves careful thought and consideration of the serious risks and benefits.
Exercise for Solid Organ Transplant Candidates and Recipients: A Joint Position Statement of the Canadian Society of Transplantation and CAN-RESTORE. Home > Previous Issues. Previous Issues. < Previous Year. Year. ,
Talk through your decision with your friends, family and other trusted advisors. After a kidney transplant, you'll take medications to help prevent your body from rejecting the donor kidney. These medications can cause a variety of side effects, including:. If your doctor recommends a kidney transplant, you'll be referred to a transplant center. You're also free to select a transplant center on your own or choose a center from your insurance company's list of preferred providers.
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After you've selected a transplant center, you'll be evaluated to determine whether you meet the center's eligibility requirements for a kidney transplant. After your evaluation, your transplant team will discuss the results with you and tell you whether you've been accepted as a kidney transplant candidate. Each transplant center has its own eligibility criteria. If you aren't accepted at one transplant center, you may apply to others.
A kidney donor can be living or deceased, related or unrelated to you. Your transplant team will consider several factors when evaluating whether a donor kidney will be a good match for you. Additional factors your transplant team may consider in finding the most appropriate donor kidney for you include matching age, kidney size and infection exposure. In paired-organ donation, living donors and their recipients aren't compatible for a transplant. However, the donor of each pair is compatible with the recipient of the other pair.
If both donors and recipients are willing, doctors may consider a paired donation. More than one pair of incompatible living donors and recipients may be linked with a nondirected living donor to form a donation chain in order to receive compatible organs. Finding a willing living kidney donor is an alternative to waiting for a compatible deceased-donor kidney to become available.
Family members are often the most likely to be compatible living kidney donors. But successful living-donor transplants are also common with kidneys donated from unrelated people, such as friends, co-workers or religious congregation members. Paired donation is another type of living kidney donation if you have a willing kidney donor whose organ is not compatible with you or does not match well for other reasons. Rather than donating a kidney directly to you, your donor may give a kidney to someone who may be a better match.
Then you receive a compatible kidney from that recipient's donor. In some cases, more than two pairs of donors and recipients may be linked with a nondirected living kidney donor to form a donation chain with several recipients benefitting from the nondirected donor's gift. If a compatible living donor isn't available, your name will be placed on a waiting list for a deceased-donor kidney. Because there are fewer available kidneys than there are people waiting for a transplant, the waiting list continues to grow.
The waiting time for a deceased-donor kidney is usually a few years. Whether you're waiting for a donated kidney or your transplant surgery is already scheduled, work to stay healthy. Being healthy and as active as you're able can make it more likely you'll be ready for the transplant surgery when the time comes.
It may also help speed your recovery from surgery. Work to:. Stay in touch with your transplant team and let them know of any significant changes in your health. If you're waiting for a donated kidney, make sure the transplant team knows how to reach you at all times. Keep your packed hospital bag handy, and make arrangements for transportation to the transplant center in advance. The new kidney's ureter is connected to your bladder.
Kidney transplants are performed with general anesthesia, so you're not awake during the procedure. The surgical team monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen level throughout the procedure. After a successful kidney transplant, your new kidney will filter your blood, and you will no longer need dialysis. To prevent your body from rejecting your donor kidney, you'll need medications to suppress your immune system. Because these anti-rejection medications make your body more vulnerable to infection, your doctor may also prescribe antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medications.
It is important to take all your medicines as your doctor prescribes. Your body may reject your new kidney if you skip your medications even for a short period of time. Contact your transplant team immediately if you are having side effects that prevent you from taking your medications.
After your transplant, skin self-checks and checkups with a dermatologist to screen for skin cancer and keeping your other cancer screening up-to-date is strongly advised. Survival rates among kidney transplant recipients in U. If your new kidney fails, you can resume dialysis or consider a second transplant. You may also choose to discontinue treatment. If you decide to discontinue treatment, your doctor can give you medicines to help relieve your symptoms. This decision depends on your current health, your ability to withstand surgery and your expectations for maintaining a certain quality of life.
Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease. It's normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed while waiting for a transplant or to have fears about rejection, returning to work or other issues after a transplant. Seeking the support of friends and family members can help you cope during this stressful time.
Your transplant team can also assist you with other useful resources and coping strategies throughout the transplant process, such as:. After your kidney transplant, you may need to adjust your diet to keep your new kidney healthy and functioning well. You'll have fewer dietary restrictions than if you were receiving dialysis therapy before your transplant, but you still may need to make some diet changes. Your transplant team includes a nutrition specialist dietitian who can discuss your nutrition and diet needs and answer any questions you have after your transplant. Some of your medications may increase your appetite and make it easier to gain weight.
But reaching and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is just as important for transplant recipients as it is for everyone else to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. You may need to keep track of how many calories you consume or limit foods high in sugar and fat.
Your dietitian will also provide you with several healthy food options and ideas to use in your nutrition plan. Your dietitian's recommendations after kidney transplant may include:. Once you recover from your transplant surgery, exercise and physical activity should be a regular part of your life to continue improving your overall physical and mental health.
After a transplant, regular exercise helps boost energy levels and increase strength. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and prevent common post-transplant complications such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your transplant team will recommend a physical activity program based on your individual needs and goals.
Soon after your transplant, you should walk as much as you can. Gradually, start incorporating more physical activity into your daily life, including participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. Walking, bicycling, swimming, low-impact strength training and other physical activities you enjoy can all be a part of a healthy, active lifestyle after transplant.