What to Know about a Kidney Transplant?

Kidney transplant

Kidneys are essential organs of the human body that filter blood to eliminate waste products in the form of urine. An end-stage kidney failure is a condition characterized by disrupted kidney function for various reasons. Kidney failure is a severe health issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, and the two treatment options in case of kidney failure are:

  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant 

What is a Kidney Transplant?

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces a diseased kidney with a healthy kid suffering from end-stage kidney failure. A living or deceased person can donate a healthy kidney. Usually, only one kidney is transplanted even if both kidneys are diseased. 

Not everyone with kidney failure is suitable for a kidney transplant, however. Following situations may make some people ineligible for it:

  • Advanced age 
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs 
  • Dementia 
  • Severe mental illness 
  • Any other factor that can make it difficult for the person to undergo the procedure of kidney transplant or take the medications prescribed by doctors after the transplant 

When is a Kidney Transplant Needed?

A kidney transplant is needed when the kidneys lose 90% of their function and develop end-stage renal disease. You can also go through dialysis, but it can be an overwhelmingly painful and exhausting process compared to kidney transplants. 

What are the Complications of a Kidney Transplant?  

Some significant complications are associated with kidney transplant surgery, such as:

  • The donated kidney getting rejected 
  • Bleeding 
  • The urine leaking from the ureter or the ureter becoming blocked 
  • Infection 
  • Heart attack, stroke, and death 

How is a Kidney Transplant Performed? 

Doctors perform kidney transplant surgery under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes the incision in the lower abdominal region on one side and places the donated kidney inside the body. Still, the failed kidneys are not removed unless certain complications, such as kidney stones, pain, or infection. 

What Happens After a Kidney Transplant? 

After the kidney transplant procedure, you will be kept in the hospital for several days or weeks, depending on your situation. The doctor will look out for the signs that may point towards complications related to the procedure. Moreover, your healthcare team will also assess the new kidney’s function to see if it is working correctly. 

You will be prescribed immunosuppressants to prevent your body’s immune system from rejecting the new kidney. You will be required to take these drugs for the rest of your life. Additionally, the suppression of the immune system due to immunosuppressants will put you at a greater risk of developing infections; thus, you may be asked to take antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal drugs as well. 

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