What is Kidney Transplant?
Kidney transplantation is performed by replacing a healthy kidney inside the body when kidney failure occurs and kidneys become unable to respond to dialysis. Kidney transplant operation allows kidney recipients to stop having dialysis treatment, to have less fluid and diet restrictions and to enjoy a better quality of life.
What Causes Kidney Failure?
When is kidney transplantation needed? Kidney transplantation is needed when kidney failure, also called renal failure, occurs and your kidneys don’t function properly enough and become unable to filter waste from your blood sufficiently. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is also another type of kidney failure which leads kidneys to disfunction by causing an excessive build-up of waste and toxins in your blood. Chronic kidney disease (CKD)—or chronic renal failure (CRF), kidney problems and kidney failure may occur due to:
- Kidney trauma
- Severe dehydration
- Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
- Heart disease or heart attack
- Liver disease or liver failure
- Taking antibiotics, cyclosporine, and chemotheraphy
- Severe injury or burns
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Drugs and alcohol
Kidney Failure Symptoms
Symptoms of kidney failure may vary from person to person depending on the severity of the condition. Some patients with kidney failure may have several symptoms of the kidney disease and some may have barely one. Possible symptoms of kidney failure include:
- Persistent nausea
- Kidney pain
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, and foot
- Severe drowsiness and fatigue
- A reduced amount of urine
- Shortness of breath
Kidney Transplant Complications and Risks
Kidney transplant procedure has a relatively high survival rate and carries fewer risks and complications that are seen rarely. Complications of kidney transplant include:
- Kidney infection
- Kidney rejection
- Blood clots
- Leaking from the ureter that links the kidney to the bladder
- An infection that may be transmitted with the donated kidney
Kidney Transplant Recovery
Kidney transplant recovery time takes generally up to 3 to 8 weeks. You may need to stay several days in the hospital. Soreness and pain around the incision site relieve gradually and may take 2 weeks. You can return to work and other normal activities within 3 to 6 weeks after kidney transplantation. You have to be careful about kidney transplant aftercare. You shouldn’t lift heavy objects and drive until the wound is completely healed (about 6 weeks). After you leave the kidney transplant center, you will be under the supervision of your kidney specialist and have frequent check-ups. To prevent kidney rejection, you will need to take certain medications called immunosuppressants (anti-rejection medications) after your kidney transplant process is done. These medications help prevent kidney rejection by keeping your immune system from attacking and rejecting your newly transplanted kidney.
Kidney Transplant Cost
The cost of kidney transplant may vary from patient to patient depending on insurance coverage, the type of transplant and the location of the kidney transplant center. Most health insurance agencies cover kidney transplant cost. However, make sure to talk to your health insurance agent about the coverage policy.Whether the cost is covered or not, kidney transplantation is still a costly procedure especially in Europe and in the U.S.A as the overall cost of kidney transplant in those regions ranges between $100,000 and $300,000. However, there are some countries to have cheap kidney transplantation such as Turkey, Poland, Romania, and India. For example, kidney transplant cost in India is around $12,000 (per kidney) and kidney transplant cost Turkey is around $25,000. Besides, kidney transplant donors are plenty and kidney transplant waiting lists are relatively short in these countries.