The kidneys play a life-sustaining role in removing fluid and waste products from the body. Impairment of this function can be fatal. In advanced cases of kidney disease, a patient can either undergo regular dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
During a kidney transplant, you will receive a healthy kidney from a donor to replace the diseased organ. The procedure has a high success rate, and most patients live full and healthy lives. If you would like to check if a kidney transplant is right for you, read on for the most frequently asked questions about this procedure.
What are the benefits of a kidney transplant?
If you have an advanced kidney condition, dialysis and kidney transplant are your two options. If you opt for the former, you would have to undergo dialysis sessions several times a month to remove waste products and fluid from the body. You will also need to follow strict dietary restrictions.
A transplanted kidney usually does a better job at filtering waste than dialysis. This is because the defective organ is replaced with a functional one. Once you recover, you will be able to eat, drink, and live the way you want. Most patients also report improved strength and energy to do the things they love, resulting in a better quality of life. The cost of a kidney transplant may also be lower over the long run than dialysis sessions.
What are the risks of this treatment?
Despite its advantages over dialysis, a kidney transplant is not completely risk-free. The most prominent risk is organ rejection. This reaction happens when your immune system perceives the new kidney as a threat and attacks it. You will have to take anti-rejection medications to get your immune system to accept the transplant.
In addition to organ rejection, the other risks of this procedure include:
- Bleeding during surgery
- Risk of infection
- Side effects from anti-rejection medications
- Blockage of blood vessels to the new kidney
- Leakage/blockage of urine in the ureter
- Issues with kidney function
How do I prepare for a kidney transplant?
Before a kidney transplant, you will have to find a suitable organ donor. Then, you will go through several tests to determine whether the kidney is a good match. Your doctors will consider several factors to find a suitable organ, including blood type, age, and genetic markers.
Once you find a donor and the tests come out okay, try to stay as healthy as possible before your scheduled operation. Take your medications as prescribed. Work out and stay active. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
What happens during a kidney transplant?
Kidney transplants are performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will insert a tube through your mouth attached to a ventilator while you sleep.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision in the lower abdomen and put the new kidney into the belly. Then, they will sew the artery and vein of the donor’s kidney to the external artery and vein. Your surgeon will attach the ureter, a tube that drains urine, to the bladder. The incisions will be closed using stitches or surgical staples.
What happens after a kidney transplant?
You will need to be monitored closely after the procedure. Your healthcare team will pay close attention to how your body reacts to anti-rejection medicines. To check whether the new kidney is functioning well, doctors will examine whether the kidney can produce healthy urine levels. Until your urine output is normal, you may have to continue your dialysis sessions.
Your hospital stay will depend on your overall health. It may take anywhere from five days to a few weeks before you can be safely discharged. Your doctor will discuss how you can monitor your condition at home and speed up the recovery process.
When you get home, you will need to continue monitoring your vital signs daily. You will need to note your temperature, blood pressure, fluid intake, and urine output. Keep recording until your doctor instructs you to stop. If you find anything abnormal or experience flu-like symptoms, call your doctor right away.
Kidney Transplants In Marlborough, MA
It’s important to note that a transplant is not a complete solution to kidney disease. The treatment doesn’t offer a reset. You will have to put in the work to keep your new kidney healthy and work with a doctor who’s committed to your long-term well-being.
If you’re considering undergoing a kidney transplant visit Commonwealth Nephrology Associates for a consultation. Our team of expert physicians will check if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. You can rest easy in the hands of our capable team, who will make sure to get you on the path to recovery.
Our nephrologists are proactive in advocating for our patients who are interested in transplants and help facilitate the evaluation in the transplant center of the patient’s choice. For more information on scheduling kidney transplants, call us today at (617) 739-2100 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to being your long-term health partner!