Kidney Transplant: Things You Need to Know

When kidneys fail to work the way it should, the body suffers from harmful waste and fluid buildup. One way to solve this is by getting a kidney transplant. This is a surgical procedure wherein the existing organ is replaced with a healthy one. If you or a loved one is considering the possibility of going through a kidney transplant, here’s a comprehensive run-through of the things you need to know before making the final decision.

Who is eligible for a kidney transplant?

The following explains the general criteria that will help you determine if a patient is eligible for the surgical procedure. However, do take note that each case is unique. Depending on one’s health condition, your doctor may or may not advise pushing through with transplantation.

  • Presence of chronic irreversible kidney disease
  • Qualified for and able to tolerate major surgery
  • Free from certain cancers, infections, and other medical conditions that could possibly be affected with transplantation
  • Without active abuse of drugs, alcohol, or other substances
  • Without active or uncontrolled psychiatric disorders

How do you get a kidney donor?

There are two ways from which you can get a healthy kidney. One is from a living donor while the other one is from a deceased donor.

Living donors are usually family members, relatives, close friends, or even strangers who are willing to donate one of their kidneys. The general rule is that donors need to be an adult, in good health and mental condition, and has a kidney functioning properly.

What happens during the surgery?

The procedure involves the following:

  1. The surgeon will make an opening on the lower abdomen and put the donated kidney into place. Unless the original kidney is causing medical problems, it’s usually left unremoved.
  2. In order to function the way it should, blood vessels will be attached to the new kidney for blood supply.
  3. The ureter of the new kidney will be connected to the bladder. This is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
  4. The opening will be closed. A thin tube called ‘stent’ will be inserted into the ureter. This will help the patient pass urine after the operation. The stent will be removed a few weeks later through a simple procedure.

How long does it usually take for one to recover?

You will be asked to stay for a few more days in the hospital so you can be monitored closely while still recovering. Once the doctor thinks it’s safe and healthy for the body to continue recovering at home, the patient will be discharged. It is highly advisable to have someone staying close for at least a few days.

Patients should avoid activities that would put stress or pressure on the operated area. A special medication will also be advised, together with safe exercises and regular check-ups to ensure that your body is accepting your new organ and healing the way it should.

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