What is kidney transplantation?
A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a kidney is removed from one person (donor) and placed in the body of a person suffering from renal failure (recipient). The transplanted kidney can perform all the functions which the patient's own kidney is not able to perform. The critical factor is that the patient and donor tissues should match.
Why is kidney transplantation necessary?
When a person has renal failure, the kidneys do not filter harmful waste products properly. As a result, excess waste and chemicals begin to accumulate in the blood and can cause a condition called uremia. Patients with irreversible renal failure have two options of treatment:
- Dialysis, where the waste products from the blood are removed artificially
- Kidney transplantation, where a donor’s kidney is transplanted into the person suffering from renal failure.
What will happen before the transplant?
Various blood tests, urine, stool examinations, x-rays, ultrasound tests and any other tests that may be deemed necessary by the treating doctor will be carried out on both the recipient and donor to ensure compatibility and fitness. Sometimes, one may require examination by various specialists, like a psychiatrist, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, etc. It is only after all these tests are done, will a decision be taken on the suitability of the donor.
What happens during donor surgery?
Kidney donation is a major surgery involving an incision on one side of the torso. The surgery is done under general anaesthesia. The removal of kidney from a donor can be done by laparoscopic method too. After surgery, medications are given to alleviate the pain. For the first two to three days after surgery, the donor receives only intravenous fluids. Most donors are discharged by the fifth post-operative day.