Kidney Transplant

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
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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:

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • 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

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