Kidney transplantation surgically places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. The donated kidney does enough of the work that your two failed kidneys use to do to keep you healthy and symptom free. A surgeon places the new kidney inside your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Your blood will flow through the donated kidney which makes urine just like your old kidneys did. Unless your old kidneys are causing infection or creating other problems, they are left in place.
Transplantation is not for everyone. You could have a condition that would make transplantation dangerous or unlikely to succeed. If you are a candidate for kidney transplantation, you may receive a kidney from a deceased or from a living donor. A living donor may be related or unrelated. The wait for a kidney from a deceased donor could be several years.
A key concern in the transplant process is whether your body will accept the new kidney. Your transplant team uses a number of factors to match kidneys with potential recipients. Transplantation is the closest thing to a cure. But no matter how good the match, your body may reject your new kidney. One cause of rejection is not taking medication as prescribed. Your doctor will give you medicines called immunosuppressants to help prevent your body’s immune system from attacking the new kidney. You will need to take these drugs for as long as the transplanted kidney is functioning. Sometimes, however, even with immunosuppressant medicines, your body may reject the new kidney. If this happens, you will probably return to dialysis and perhaps wait for another transplant.
If you would like to be an organ donor, you can sign up online at www.nedonation.org.