Our kidneys are two bean-shaped organs with the primary function of filtering out and removing waste materials and fluid from our bodies in the form of urine. However, when our kidneys lose their ability to function appropriately, these waste materials and fluid can accumulate inside the body – potentially increasing your blood pressure and leaving you at risk of developing kidney failure.
People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney scarring, or polycystic kidney disease are highly prone to kidney failure. If you do develop kidney failure, the best way to remove the harmful waste products in your body is through dialysis, or possibly a kidney transplant.
Let’s talk about what’s involved in a kidney transplant, its pros and cons, and who you can talk to about what would be the best treatment for your health condition.
What Is a Kidney Transplant?
A kidney transplant is the surgical process of removing a nonfunctioning kidney and replacing it with a healthy kidney. Patients who are eligible for a kidney transplant can get a kidney from a living or deceased donor.
A person only needs one kidney to live. Living kidney donors have volunteered to donate to someone who needs a kidney; people who have elected to be an Organ Donor and are killed in a sudden car accident may have one or both kidneys given to people who need a healthy kidney, as long as the kidneys were not damaged in the accident.
There are currently two types of kidney transplants:
- Preemptive transplant, which is performed before you would start dialysis
- Early transplant, which is performed not too long after kidney failure but after you begin to undergo dialysis
Benefits of a Kidney Transplant
Most people would prefer to get a kidney transplant rather than be on dialysis for the rest of their life. Kidney dialysis involves having dialysis several times per week, and spending several hours each time connected to a dialysis machine.
Patients who undergo kidney transplant surgery are likely to enjoy the following benefits:
- Better quality of life
- More control over your daily activities
- More freedom due to not being bound to dialysis schedules
- Lower risk of death thanks to the healthy kidney
- Improved strength, stamina, and energy
- Fewer dietary restrictions
- A more normal fluid intake
- A possible reversal of anemia
- Fewer hypertension medications (for high blood pressure)
- Lower treatment cost
Risks of a Kidney Transplant
Although getting a kidney transplant is better than being on dialysis, there are still some risks associated with this surgical procedure. It’s vital that you discuss these risks with your doctor.
Patients who undergo a kidney transplant may be at risk of the following:
- Kidney rejection
- Side effects from the anti-rejection medications
- Bleeding and breathing problems
- Higher risk of infection
- Higher chances of getting cancer
- Fatal reaction from the surgery
To prevent or minimize these risks, be sure to get regular health screenings after the surgery, and immediately inform your doctor if you notice any unusual changes or symptoms.
Kidney Transplant in Massachusetts
We need our kidneys to filter out and remove harmful levels of waste fluids and minerals in our body, or we can become susceptible to kidney failure. When this happens, having a kidney transplant would be best.
If you are at risk of kidney disease or kidney failure due to diabetes or another underlying health condition, contact us at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates today to schedule a consultation. You can call our friendly staff at (617) 739-2100 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to being your healthcare partner for a long, enjoyable life.