What Happens During A Kidney Transplant Procedure
Kidney transplantation involves placing a healthy kidney into your body, where it can perform all of the functions that a failing kidney cannot.
Your new kidney is placed on the lower right or left side of your abdomen where its surgically connected to nearby blood vessels. Placing the kidney in this position allows it to be easily connected to blood vessels and your bladder. The vein and artery of your new kidney are attached to your vein and artery. The new kidney’s ureter is attached to your bladder to allow urine to pass out of your body.
What happens to my old kidneys?
In most cases, your surgeon will leave your diseased kidneys inside your body. However, there are three conditions that might require the removal of your old kidneys:
- Infection that could spread to your new, transplanted kidney.
- Unmanaged or uncontrollable high blood pressure caused by your original kidneys.
- Reflux or a backup of pee into your kidneys.
How long is kidney transplant surgery?
On average, kidney transplant surgery takes two to four hours to complete.
Exercise And Weight Loss
Once youve started to recover from the effects of surgery, you should try to do regular physical activity.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This includes any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate it may make you sweat, but you are still able to hold a normal conversation.
Choose physical activities that you enjoy, as youre more likely to continue doing them.
Its unrealistic to meet these exercise targets immediately if you have not exercised much in the past. You should aim to start gradually and then build on it.
If youre overweight or obese, you should try to achieve a healthy weight. This can be safely done through a combination of eating a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise. Aim for a body mass index of 18.5 to 25.
Read more about exercise and losing weight safely.
Reasons For A Kidney Transplant
A healthy human body has two kidneys that work together to filter blood and remove toxins from the body. The kidneys work to maintain the appropriate amount of fluid in the blood and also filter out excess salts, electrolytes, and minerals.
The kidneys make urine with these substances. Urine is then eliminated from the body, first by moving out of the kidneys through the ureters to collect in the bladder, then exiting the body through the urethra during urination.
Without working kidneys, water is not sufficiently eliminated. This can cause fluid overload, which makes it difficult to breathe and causes serious swelling throughout the body. It also puts significant stress on the heart.
When water builds up in the body, it causes disturbances in how much salt, potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes remain in the blood. Such imbalances can cause issues with heart function and result in other serious complications.
If excess water build-up continues without treatment, it can lead to death. For people whose kidneys are no longer functioning well enough to support the needs of their body, dialysis or a kidney transplant can be life-saving.
Diseases and conditions that may result in end-stage kidney disease and warrant a kidney transplant include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Severe anatomical problems of the urinary tract
Of American kidney disease patients, 650,000 have end-stage renal disease.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Rejection Of Kidney Transplant
One of the greatest concerns as a transplant recipient will be that the body’s immune system will reject and attack the transplanted kidney. If not reversed, rejection will destroy the transplanted organ. For this reason, the patient and his or her family must keep aware of warning signs and symptoms of rejection. They must contact the transplant team immediately if any of these symptoms develop.
- Hypertension : This is an ominous sign that the kidney is not functioning properly.
- Swelling or puffiness: This is a sign of fluid retention, usually in the arms, legs, or face.
If the patient is a kidney transplant recipient, any of the following symptoms warrant immediate care at a hospital emergency department, preferably the hospital where the transplant was done.
- Fever: This is a sign of infection.
Can A Kidney Transplant Last 20 Years
Although most transplants are successful and last for many years, how long they last can vary from one person to the next. Many people will need more than one kidney transplant during a lifetime.
Can a kidney transplant last 50 years?
Dr Joyce Popoola, Consultant Nephrologist and Lead Transplant Physician for Renal Services, said: The average lifespan of a kidney transplant from a deceased donor is 11-14 years, and 20-24 from a live donor. So for Villy to have reached 50 years with his transplanted kidney is fantastic.
What is the disadvantage of kidney transplant?
Disadvantages Kidney transplantation is a major surgical procedure that has risks both during and after the surgery. The risks of the surgery include infection, bleeding, and damage to the surrounding organs. Even death can occur, although this is very rare.
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Benefits And Risks Of Kidney Transplant
For people with kidney failure, a kidney transplant can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life. Because dialysis can only do part of what healthy kidneys do for your body, people who have a kidney transplant usually live longer than those on dialysis. A kidney from a transplant will not work as well as kidneys in a healthy person. But your health may be almost as good as a person with healthy kidneys as long as you closely follow your doctors orders after the transplant surgery.
Also, when you get a kidney transplant, you may avoid some of the complications that people on dialysis often have, such as bone problems and heart disease.
A kidney transplant can improve your quality of life. After your kidney transplant, you may have:
- Fewer limits on what you can eat
- More free time from not having to go to dialysis
- More flexibility to travel
- Greater ability to work and hold a job
Risks with a kidney transplant are the same as with any major surgery. Risk does not mean these things will happen, it means they could happen. Some of the risks are infection, bleeding, or damage to other organs. Also, the three connections between your new kidney and your body the artery, vein, and ureter , might leak or become blocked. Read more about the kidney transplant surgery here.
What Is Done To Prevent Rejection
To allow the transplanted kidney to survive in your body, you will be givenmedicines for the rest of your life to fight rejection. Each person mayreact differently to medicines.
New antirejection medicines are continually being developed and approved.Your healthcare team will tailor medicine regimes to meet your needs.
Usually several antirejection medicines are given at first. The doses ofthese medicines may change often, depending on your response. Becauseantirejection medicines affect the immune system you will be at higher riskfor infections. A balance must be maintained between preventing rejectionand making you very susceptible to infection.
Some of the infections you will be especially at risk for include oralyeast infection ,herpes, and respiratory viruses. Avoid contact with crowds and anyone who has aninfection for the first few months after your surgery.
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What Are The Kidney Transplant Requirements
Each hospital has its own criteria for accepting people as kidney transplant recipients. But in general, candidates should have:
- End-stage renal failure and be on dialysis.
- Late-stage chronic kidney disease, approaching the need for dialysis.
- A life expectancy of at least five years.
- A full understanding of postoperative instructions and care.
What is the best age for kidney transplant?
While most kidney transplant recipients are between the ages of 45 and 65, there really is no upper age limit. However, to ensure the best results, your healthcare provider will likely look for a donor who is close to your own age.
How many kidney transplants can a person have?
In some cases, people can have two and even three or four kidney transplants in their lifetime. Your healthcare provider can tell you if this is an option for you.
What disqualifies you from getting a kidney transplant?
Kidney transplants are approved on a case-by-case basis. However, there are some general factors that could make a person ineligible for a kidney transplant, such as:
- A serious health condition that makes it dangerous to have surgery.
- Recurring infection.
- A short life expectancy.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
No matter what your situation, your healthcare provider can determine whether a kidney transplant is a safe treatment option.
How Can I Get More Information
A kidney transplant program will have detailed information about their evaluation process and their criteria for accepting transplant candidates. To locate a kidney transplant program closest to you please visit:
The toll-free patient services line of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network can provide information about the OPTN, allocation policy and other resources available to you, in both English and Spanish. Additional information is available online on the following websites:
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When Can I Return To My Regular Activities
You can resume your previous activities as soon as you feel better and you might even feel good enough to add some new activities. A daily exercise program will continue to improve your health and help you maintain a positive attitude.
You will not injure yourself or your new kidney if you follow some of these general guidelines:
- Avoid lifting heavy objects and strenuous physical work for at least six to eight weeks following surgery. It is important that you do not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds for two to three months, and nothing heavier than 40 pounds for four to six months from the date of your surgery.
- Avoid driving for at least six weeks following surgery. Plan ahead so a friend or family member can help out during this time. When you are in a moving vehicle, always use your seat belt.
- Exercise is encouraged. We recommend beginning with stretching exercises and walking. Other excellent exercises include jogging, hiking, bicycling, tennis, golf, swimming and aerobics. All of these can help you regain your strength and may be started gradually after your incision has healed.
- As a general rule, rough contact sports should be avoided since they might cause injury to your transplanted kidney. If you have doubts about any activity, please ask the Transplant Team.
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Who Should Get A Kidney Transplant
If you are diagnosed with kidney failure, or youre at Stage 3 CKD or Stage 4 CKD and considering a kidney transplant procedure down the line, talk to your doctor about whether or not kidney transplant surgery is right for you. If youre in otherwise good health and your doctor determines that you meet the requirements, a kidney transplant may be a good option. Generally, doctors consider a kidney transplant to be the best kidney failure treatment, whenever possible.
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No Life Expectancy Changes
Donating a kidney does not affect a persons life expectancy. On the contrary, studies show that people who donate a kidney outlive the average population. Twenty years after donating, 85 percent of kidney donors were still alive, while the expected survival rate was 66 percent. This may be because only healthy people are approved to become donors, or perhaps donors take additional health precautions after donating a kidney.
Transplant Tourism May Be Risky For Your Health And Unfair For Organ Donors
U.S. law prohibits paying people to donate organs, according to Cornell University Law School. The buying and selling of transplant organs from live donors is prohibited in many countries, the World Health Organization notes, but a lack of available organ donations globally has spawned an international organ trade. People who travel to other countries to have organ transplants may not realize that their donor could be an unwilling participant a prisoner, refugee, or impoverished person notes a past international declaration on organ trafficking. Its illegal in most countries. In some parts of the world, you can do it, but its risky, dangerous, and poorly regulated, says Klassen.
A study published in June 2017 in PLoS One noted that organ transplant tourism makes up 10 percent of world organ transplants, and has been increasing quickly over the past 20 years. The researchers looked at Taiwan specifically, and compared citizens who received kidney and liver transplants domestically to overseas. They found that the overseas group had poorer health outcomes for example, the five-year survival rate for a domestic liver transplant was 79.5 percent, while overseas it was only 54.7 percent.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Kidney Transplant
The length of recovery after a kidney transplant depends on many factors such as:
- Type of transplant procedure
- Acceptance of the new kidney by the body
Each patient may have a different speed of recovery. After the procedure, the patient is shifted to a recovery area where the nurses and doctors observe for signs of complications or organ rejection. The patient is usually discharged from the hospital after a few days or a week and only after the surgeon and transplant team have checked their progress, strength and overall health.
The new kidney will start to make urine like the older ones when they were healthy. Mostly, this occurs immediately but in some cases, it can take a few days. If this happens, patients are temporarily put on dialysis until the new kidney starts to function normally.
The kidney transplant doctor will discuss precautions, such as no lifting heavy objects weighing more than 10 pounds or doing exercise until the wound has healed. It usually takes about six weeks after the surgery.
The recovery may take some time, but the ultimate results after the transplant are highly satisfactory. The transplant will allow you to have a normal active life, independence from the dialysis and restrictions with diet associated with it.
The anti-rejection medications may have some side effects and you must contact your transplant team immediately in case you experience any of the following:
- Thinning of bone or bone damage
- High blood pressure
How Is Kidney Transplant Surgery Performed
The surgery for a kidney transplant is performed with general anesthesia, so the patient is not awake and feels no pain during the procedure. The nephrologist and the medical team closely monitor the heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level throughout the duration of the surgery. It usually takes around four to six hours to perform the surgery.
Following steps are performed:
- An incision is made by the surgeon on the lower part of one side of the abdomen and the new kidney is placed into the body. The older kidneys of the patient are left in the body unless they are causing complications, such as kidney stones, high blood pressure, pain or infection.
- The blood vessels in the lower part of the abdomen are attached to the blood vessels of the new kidney.
- The new kidney and the ureter are connected to the bladder.
There are two types of kidney transplants based on the source of the new kidney:
Another type of kidney transplant is known as a Preemptive kidney transplant in which the patient receives a new kidney before going on dialysis.
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What Causes Kidney Failure
Various conditions can damage the kidneys, including both primary kidney diseases and other conditions that affect the kidneys.
- If kidney damage becomes too severe, the kidneys lose their ability to function normally. This is called kidney failure.
- Kidney failure can happen rapidly , usually in response to a severe acute illness in another body system or in the kidneys. It is a very common complication in patients hospitalized for other reasons. It is often completely reversible with a resolution of the underlying condition.
- Kidney failure can also happen very slowly and gradually , usually in response to a chronic disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Both types of kidney failure can occur in response to primary kidney disease as well. In some cases, this kidney disease is hereditary.
- Infections and substances such as drugs and toxins can permanently scar the kidneys and lead to their failure.
People with the following conditions are at greater-than-normal risk of developing kidney failure and end-stage renal disease:
The symptoms of kidney failure vary widely by the cause of the kidney failure, the severity of the condition, and the other body systems that are affected.
Other common symptoms of kidney failure and end-stage renal disease include:
- Urinary problems
A person can prevent kidney failure, or slow the progression of the failure, by controlling underlying conditions. End-stage renal disease cannot be prevented in some cases.
A Transplanted Organ Can Carry A Hidden Disease Along With It
Before transplant, organs are screened for common infections and diseases. This is to exclude any potentially dangerous contamination. And while transmitted infections are very rare, they are suspected in about 1 percent of transplant cases, though actually discovered in far fewer, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Donors are screened rigorously and infections can be treated well, says Dr. Klassen. Theres a risk-reward tradeoff, and its a relatively small risk, he adds.
West Nile virus and rabies are two examples of infectious diseases that have been transmitted via organ transplantation, the CDC data shows, and Klassen adds that rare cases of cancer from transplants have also been reported. And, as NBC News reported, an organ transplant patient contracted COVID-19 from the lungs of the donor, who had tested negative for the virus initially and didnt show any symptoms of the illness.
Doctors may have full knowledge of an infection in the organ before its set to be transplanted. Take hepatitis C. Fortunately, hepatitis C has become a curable disease within the last five years, so we can still utilize the organ of a person with hepatitis C, and then treat the recipient with hepatitis C medications.
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