nurse holding hands with patient in wheelchair

Kidney Transplant

At Providence, our goal is to improve the quality of life of our patients through compassionate care and comprehensive treatments. For those affected by kidney failure (end-stage renal disease), this means providing efficient and effective kidney transplants.

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure wherein one or both of a person›s failing kidneys are replaced with healthy kidneys.

Used to treat severe kidney failure, a kidney transplant is a freeing alternative to dialysis treatment. Often, patients who undergo dialysis have to follow strict schedules and depend on constant visits to dialysis centers. A kidney transplant, though not for everyone, can improve a patient’s overall quality of life.

The healthy kidneys are provided through a donor, either living or deceased. Donors are matched based on blood type and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type. Having similar HLA types helps the body accept the foreign kidney. Because we get our HLA types from our parents, a patient’s close relatives are offer a higher likelihood of being a donor match.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make an abdominal incision over your groin crease on either the left or right side of your body. Once the incision is made, your surgeon will take the donated kidney and place it in your lower abdomen. The kidney is then connected to your veins, arteries and your bladder, allowing it to perform the normal functions of a kidney.

More often than not, your original kidneys (native kidneys) will be left in your body unless they’re causing problems, such as discomfort or infection. Native kidneys are typically left in the body because removal requires over a month of recovery time and an immediate need for dialysis. Removing a native kidney can also make it difficult for the body to accept the new kidney. If necessary, removal of the native kidney usually takes place after the transplant.

For healthy patients suited as kidney donors, surgeons often take a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) approach to kidney removal. The surgeon uses tiny coin-sized incisions to insert tools used to detach the kidney from veins, arteries and the ureter. A small incision of approximately four inches is then used to remove the whole kidney. Because the body only requires one healthy kidney to perform its natural function, laparoscopic kidney removal often results in faster recovery times and low risk of complication.

Kidney transplants are performed under general anesthesia. The operation typically takes two to four hours. Most patients stay in the hospital up to a week after surgery, where they are monitored by a team of caregivers.

Aside from common potential side effects of surgery (bleeding, infection, bruising, soreness and numbness), the most significant possible complication of a kidney transplant is rejection of the new kidney.

At Providence, our team of doctors, nephrologists and renal specialists work together to support you after your kidney transplant. Your team of caregivers will provide the resources necessary to improve your quality of life post-operation.