A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which kidneys that do not work anymore are replaced with one functional kidney. You may get it from a living or a deceased person.
Kidneys are bean-shaped organs placed below the rib cage, on each side of the spine. They are vital organs that perform the essential function of filtering waste and producing urine.
For you to stay healthy, your kidneys should work well. Otherwise, it can become life-threatening. If your kidneys do not work, you may need to get dialysis done frequently. A kidney transplant can also help your body filter waste and get rid of toxins that accumulate in your body.
Kidney failure or end-stage renal disease often occurs due to causes such as uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure for a long time, polycystic kidney disease, and chronic glomerulonephritis.
If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney failure, you need to visit the healthcare provider frequently. To get an expert opinion, you can consult with a Nephrologist.
Why Do You Need A Kidney Transplant?
You will need a kidney transplant if your both kidneys stop working. Compared with dialysis, often kidney transplant is a preferred option because a patient can stay healthy on a new kidney.
Dialysis is a long and painful procedure in which various complications can occur. Therefore healthcare providers prefer a kidney transplant over it.
With dialysis, you have to follow dietary restrictions. But with a transplanted kidney, your body can cope well. Sometimes the person gets a kidney transplant before going on dialysis- a procedure known as a preemptive kidney transplant. It is often done in chronic kidney failure when kidney functions deteriorate slowly.
However, certain factors that can prevent you from being eligible for a kidney transplant are:
- Advanced age
- Severe heart disease
- Poor mental illness
- Have had been treated for cancer recently
- Active cancer
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Other factors can affect undergoing the procedure safely and taking medications after that.
Post-transplant, you need to take immunosuppressant medications for a long time because your body takes time to adapt to them. Normally, whenever your body finds something foreign in your body, the immune system gets activated and tries to get rid of it with various mechanisms. So to cope with that, you need to take immunosuppressant drugs that suppress the normal functioning of your immune system. In this way, organ rejection may not occur.
You need to get only one kidney from a donor even when your both have failed. If you do not have any compatible donor alive who can donate the kidney, you need to wait for a deceased donor. For that, your name will be put on a waiting list. When the person dies, then you will be getting the kidney. In the meanwhile, you may need to get dialysis done.
What Are The Complications of Kidney Transplant Procedure?
Kidney transplant procedure carries a risk of complications, such as:
- Blood clotting
- Blockage or leakage from ureters- a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder
- Kidney infection
- Rejection of the kidney or failure
- Heart attack or stroke
How long your donated kidney works well, no one can predict. Your healthcare providers can manage the complications well. To prevent organ rejection, they will administer immunosuppressant medications that help suppress the immune system.
What Are The Side Effects of Immunosuppressant Drugs?
The immunosuppressant drugs suppress your immune system, thereby putting you at risk of infections. Along with that, it can cause:
- Osteoporosis- bone thinning
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Hair loss
- Excessive hair growth
- Weight gain or edema
The Bottom Line
Your healthcare providers can decide whether you need a kidney transplant or not. They may perform various tests of the donor and the recipient before the procedure. It may take some months to even a year to get a kidney transplant done.