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A kidney transplant gives you a healthy kidney from another person. You may need a transplant if your kidneys work poorly because of diabetes, high blood pressure, or another illness. You need only one kidney to live. The new kidney can do the work that your own kidneys cannot. It will remove waste from your blood and keep your body's fluids and chemicals in balance. A new kidney can improve the quality of your life. You are likely to feel better and have more energy.
The new kidney may come from someone you know, a stranger, or a person who has died. Getting a new kidney can sometimes take a long time. You have to meet certain rules to be able to get a kidney. For example, your overall health (other than kidney problems) has to be good. If a relative or another living person gives you a kidney, you may not have to wait long. If you need a kidney from a person who has died, your name will be put on a waiting list.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
The doctor will make a cut (incision) in your lower belly. The doctor will place the donated kidney in your lower belly. The doctor will connect the blood vessels of the new kidney to your blood vessels. Then the ureter of the new kidney will be connected to your bladder. (A ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.) Your own kidneys will not be taken out unless they are causing problems.
The doctor will finish the surgery by closing the cut with stitches or surgical staples. These will be removed about 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. The cut will leave a scar that will fade with time.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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