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5 Things You Should Know About Kidney Transplant Surgery

Kidneys are twin organs positioned in the lower abdomen. As much as one-third of all the blood pumped by the heart passes into the kidneys to be filtered before traveling to the rest of the body's tissues. While you can live with only one functioning kidney, the loss of both kidneys leads to a rapid accumulation of waste within a few days. Because of it, kidneys are vital organs that need to be functionalized by dialysis or replaced by a kidney transplant surgery, it cannot work properly. Although it is life-saving, dialysis is nowadays treated as a temporary solution; thus the preferred one is kidney transplant surgery.

Today, millions of people all around the world are suffering from renal diseases like kidney infections, which may lead to kidney failure. Kidney infection symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, pain during urination, high temperature – 38C or above or kidney pain.

Symptoms of other kidney diseases include general abdominal pain, kidney stones, acute kidney injury, strange smell or color of urine.

All of this may end with kidney failure. Kidney failure symptoms are even more severe since it is a life-threatening condition. Among them is the pain in the chest, swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet, confusion and nausea, and even possibly seizures and a coma. If this is the case, medical intervention is absolutely necessary.

In this short article, we have gathered some simple facts about kidney transplant together, in order to make this important subject more familiar and to remind the crucial function of our kidneys.

READ: Kidney Failure and Kidney Diseases

 Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Surgery

This is the main question asked by patients. While dialysis and kidney transplant are both effective treatments for kidney failure, their usefulness is different in the long run. Dialysis helps your body keeping in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from accumulating in the body and keeping some chemicals such as potassium and sodium in a safe level in your blood, and finally helping to control blood pressure.

Dialysis is less convenient than kidney transplant surgery because patients need to visit the hospital every second day or even more often and spend there up to 4 hours. Nowadays, most of the people struggling with kidney failure symptoms use kidney dialysis only while waiting for a kidney donor.

Is Kidney Transplant Surgery Risky?

Kidney transplant surgery is a relatively safe procedure. Still, there are several kidney transplant complications possible. There is always the possibility of kidney infection or general infection, from minor ones such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or colds to the more serious ones, such as pneumonia and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The arteries may get narrower as a result of kidney transplant cause a rise in blood pressure, and therefore the vascular operation may be conducted. Blood clots, which is estimated to occur in around 1 in 100 kidney transplants, also may form and block blood flow or urine flow, therefore blocking ureter. Besides acute rejection, in the long run, some types of cancer or diabetes may develop as kidney transplant complications. Finally, an immunosuppressant used by patients after kidney transplant may have various side effects include increased risk of infections or diabetes and high blood pressure.

However, in the case of kidney failure, we have to choose between dialysis and kidney transplant. Most of the people decide for the second one by choosing its advantages, even without considering its cost or recovery.

READ: New Approaches to Kidney Transplantation

Who Can Be a Donor for Kidney Transplant Surgery?

The kidney donor criteria are varying from country to country. Generally, there are two types of kidney donations: from living kidney donors and from deceased ones. Many people prefer to have it from the living kidney donor, especially from family or friends. However, there's also a big market for kidney donations for money. Still, this trade is limited in many countries, including most of the European states, Turkey, or India, and allow only kidney donations from family or friends. A kidney transplant from a living donor is ‘better' than a deceased donor transplant due to it is more likely to work. The best kidney donor is accepted as an identical twin, as the tissue type is the same. As, most people do not have an identical twin waiting to give them a kidney, a kidney from another relative/friend is more common.

Kidney donors or donators are asked to go through a number of tests and examinations. Those tests are well-planned to make sure that you are healthy enough to give a kidney and your kidneys are currently working well and also that you are physically and emotionally prepared for the operation. The process of approval can take several months, which include medical, surgical and psychological assessments.

What Is the Kidney Transplant Life Expectancy?

Kidney transplant life expectancy is currently almost as long as the life expectancy of people not suffering from kidney infection symptoms or kidney failure. Patients who receive a kidney transplant generally live longer than those who have dialysis treatment. A living donor kidney functions properly, on average, 12 to 20 years, and a deceased donor kidney between 8 to 12 years. Typically, the patients have kidney transplant before dialysis live an average of 10 to 15 years longer than they stayed on dialysis without the transplant.

Is Kidney Failure a Condition for Kidney Transplant Surgery?

No, it is not a case. People with acute kidney infection symptoms or other kidney diseases with big probability will develop kidney failure symptoms in the future. However, when you have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you need one of the treatment options of dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Kidney transplant is considered the best option for people facing kidney failure because it can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

In this way, the earlier they will decide for the kidney transplant procedure, the better. However, it is better to consult a specialist in this matter.

READ: Cross-Kidney Transplant – What is it?


This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in 2023.


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