A kidney transplant is done when the kidneys do not function properly.
A kidney transplant is done when the kidneys do not function properly.

The duration for which a transplanted kidney lasts may vary from person to person. On average, kidney transplants may last for around 10-12 years.

What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant refers to the surgical placement of a healthy kidney from a donor into your body when your kidneys are not functioning properly. Your kidneys are vital organs involved in performing several important functions in the body such as:

  • Regulating proper fluid balance in the body
  • Filtering various wastes and toxic products from the body
  • Maintaining adequate electrolyte (such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus) balance in the body
  • Regulating optimum blood pressure
  • Maintaining healthy bones by activating vitamin D 
  • Maintaining healthy levels of red blood cells in the body

Almost one-third of the adults in the United States are at risk of developing kidney diseases. Over 37 million American adults have kidney disease, and most are not aware of it. Thus, by the time they are diagnosed, a lot of irreversible damage would have already occurred, and they are left with two options: dialysis or a kidney transplant. During a kidney transplant, the malfunctioning kidney is surgically removed and replaced with a healthy kidney from a donor. The donor may be a living or deceased. A kidney transplant serves several advantages such as improving the quality of life, increasing longevity, and decreasing the various dietary restrictions a person with malfunctioning kidneys has to follow. The person with the transplanted kidney generally starts feeling better after two weeks of the surgery. They will, however, need medications throughout their life to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney.

Who would need a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is done when the kidneys do not function properly. A kidney transplant may be done for a person of any age. Several conditions may increase the risk of kidney diseases and the need for a transplant. They include:

What is a preemptive kidney transplant?

A preemptive or early kidney transplant refers to the kidney transplant done before the kidney functions have declined to the extent that the person needs dialysis. Getting a preemptive kidney transplant, thus, allows the person to avoid dialysis altogether. This type of an “early” transplant is preferred, as it can provide a better quality of life than a transplant done late after the kidneys fail. This also allows the person to keep working and saves both time and money. As the diagnosis of kidney diseases may be done quite late, many people may need dialysis when they are diagnosed. Furthermore, because of the shortage of kidney donors, most people get a kidney transplant while they are on dialysis. It is estimated that only 20% of kidney transplants in the United States fall in the category of preemptive kidney transplants.


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