Most people who need a kidney transplant are able to have one, regardless of their age, as long as:
- they’re well enough to withstand the effects of surgery
- the transplant has a relatively good chance of success
- the person is willing to comply with the recommended treatments required after the transplant – such as taking immunosuppressant medication and attending regular follow-up appointments
A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney in your body. The transplanted kidney takes over the work of the two kidneys that failed, so you no longer need dialysis.
During a transplant, the surgeon places the new kidney in your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Often, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as your blood starts flowing through it. But sometimes it takes a few weeks to start working.
Many transplanted kidneys come from donors who have died. Some come from a living family member. The wait for a new kidney can be long.
If you have a transplant, you must take drugs for the rest of your life, to keep your body from rejecting the new kidney.
A kidney transplant is the transfer of a healthy kidney from one person into the body of a person who has little or no kidney function.
The main role of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood and convert them to urine. If the kidneys lose this ability, waste products can build up, which is potentially life-threatening.
You must be healthy enough to have the operation. You must also be free from cancer and infection. Every person being considered for transplant will get a full medical and psychosocial evaluation to make sure they are a good candidate for transplant. The evaluation helps find any problems, so they can be corrected before transplant. For most people, getting a transplant can be a good treatment choice.