By Dr. Ashok Sarin, Nephrology
Kidney transplant surgery is a surgical procedure to replace a diseased kidney with a healthy donated one. The function of the kidneys is to remove wastes from the body and maintain electrolyte balance. When the kidney loses its ability to filter out the wastes, it causes wastes to accumulate in the body, something that is extremely harmful to your system.
Some complications that cause kidney failure are chronic blood pressure, diabetes, polycystic kidney disease (kidneys characterized by the formation of cysts that are filled with fluids) and inflammation of the kidneys. The donated kidney can be either from a living donor or a deceased donor. Several tests are carried out to see how well the donor kidney will match your blood and tissue type.
Finding a match-
There are two types of organ donors: a living donor and a non-living, or cadaver, donor. Compatibility between a patient and the donor reduces the chances of organ rejection and can contribute to a more successful transplant. Additionally, because medication to help prevent organ rejection is so effective, donors don’t always have to be genetically similar to the recipient.
In the beginning, anesthesia is administered after which the surgery starts. Initially, the diseased kidney is removed and replaced with the donated kidney. The arteries and veins are connected to the blood vessels of the new kidney. The ureter from the kidney is then connected to the bladder. Once blood starts to flow in the kidney, it starts to function in its usual manner.
You will have to stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery. The kidneys may take some time to pass urine. In the meantime, medications and dialysis will be used to support the functioning of the kidneys. Medications are prescribed to suppress the activity of the immune system so that it does not reject the new kidney. In some cases, chronic rejection of the kidney can occur, wherein there is a progressive and gradual loss of kidney function. The exact cause of chronic rejection is not known.
In the case of chronic kidney disease, kidney transplant surgery is known to improve life expectancy as compared to dialysis. With new and better immunosuppressant drugs, the rejection rate in kidney transplant surgeries has dropped, increasing the overall success rate of the surgery.