A kidney transplant is a surgery in which a healthy kidney from one person is replaced into the body of a person whose kidney does not function properly or does not function at all. It is required to treat kidney failure. People who have kidney failure usually undergo a treatment called dialysis. This treatment helps to mechanically filter waste that accumulates in the bloodstream when the kidneys stop functioning.
Some people who have kidney failure may qualify for a kidney transplant. In this procedure, one or both the kidneys are replaced with donor kidneys from a live or deceased person.
A person who has the following conditions is the right candidate for a kidney transplant-
• end-stage renal disease
• kidneys had stopped functioning entirely
• better health condition to tolerate the effects of the surgery
• there are good chances to have a chance of success
• old age
• cancer, or a recent history of cancer
• severe infection, such as tuberculosis, bone infections, or hepatitis
• severe cardiovascular disease
• hepatic disease
• Dementia or poorly controlled mental illness
• smoking, alcoholism, and use of illicit drugs
First of all, kidney donors are selected for having a perfect match for the patient who wants to undergo kidney transplantation. Kidney donors are usually of two types, living or deceased. Living donors are the alive person, usually a family member or person who has two healthy kidneys and is willing to donate one. Deceased donors, also known as cadaver donors, are people who have died recently due to an accident rather than a disease. Either the donor or their family wants to donate their organs and tissues.
Kidney transplants are performed with general anesthesia. The heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level of the patient is monitored throughout the procedure.
During the surgery, the surgeon cuts the lower part of one side of the abdomen and replaces the diseased kidney with the new kidney. Unless the diseased organs are leading to complications such as high blood pressure, pain, or infection, kidney stones, they are left in their original position. The blood vessels of the transplanted kidney are joined to blood vessels in the lower abdomen. The ureters of the transplanted kidney are connected to the bladder of the patients.
Kidney transplant has the following benefits in patients
• Better quality of life
• Lower risk of death
• Fewer dietary restrictions
• Lower treatment cost
• No dialysis
After kidney transplantation, transplanted kidneys may take a few weeks to work properly. Till then, the patient is temporarily kept on dialysis. If family members donate kidneys, then the donated organs would start working faster than deceased donors. Most people can resume work and other normal activities in six to eight weeks after transplant. They are advised to avoid lifting objects weighing more than 10 pounds or exercise other than walking so that the wound can heal. It usually takes about six weeks after surgery.
Side effects or risks
• An allergic reaction to general anesthesia
• Blood clots
• Leakage from the ureter
• A blockage in the ureter
• An infection
• Rejection of the donated kidney by the patient's immune system
• Failure of the donated kidney
• A heart attack
• A stroke