We all know that a human has two kidneys. Well, a person can survive only if one of the kidneys is working properly. But when both the kidneys get damaged, there is no option left than going for a kidney transplant. It is a surgery where a healthy kidney is put into the body of the patient. For this, obviously, a donor is required and there are two types of donor:
- Living Donor: This donor can be a friend, a family member, a coworker, or any person who is there to give away their kidney to the patient. After all, only one healthy kidney is needed for living.
- Deceased Donor: The person who has died recently can be the donor too.
There are certain tests taken to see the matching of the tissue type and blood type of the donor’s kidney to the patients. If there is a close tissue match, it can reduce the chances of rejection of the donor’s kidney by the patient’s body.
The surgery for kidney transplant usually takes three hours. While the surgery takes place, the donor’s kidney is placed in the lower abdomen, and the blood vessels from the donor’s kidney are connected to the arteries and veins present in the body, and the ureter from the donated kidney is connected to the bladder. Then, the blood is able to flow through the donor’s kidney and it starts to filter it and remove the wastes and produce urine. Usually, the donor’s kidneys start to work immediately but in most cases, damaged or diseased kidneys are not removed until the patient gets severe kidney infection (pyelonephritis), nephrotic syndrome, kidney cancer, or really large polycystic kidneys.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER KIDNEY TRANSPLANT?
While staying in hospital for some days after you are done with the kidney transplant surgery, the functioning of the donor’s kidney is checked and if the kidney takes time in the urine production, the patients receive dialysis and has to take medicines like diuretics which eventually help the kidney to get rid of excess salt and water from the body. Plus, after the surgery, the patient will have to take medicines so that the immune system can be suppressed as the immune system can reject the donor’s kidney.
After the surgery, during the first weeks to months, the body of the patient might try to reject the donor’s kidney and this is known as acute rejection. It can be treated with the immunosuppressive medicines. Whereas chronic rejection, also known as chronic allograft failure, is a process where the kidney loses its functions gradually and it can occur many months or years after the surgery has been done. For this type of rejection, there is no treatment. Going back on dialysis or another transplant is what most of the people prefer.
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT IT?
Kidney transplant might be a better treatment option than the dialysis because, after transplant, the survival rates are better. A patient can live a life normally because there won’t be any need for the dialysis. It might be expensive but it actually costs less than the long-term dialysis treatments. For receiving a donor’s kidney, one has to often wait for long and there is no 100 per cent guarantee that the transplant can be fully successful. There are some complications that can occur in people who are good candidates for the surgery and don’t have other serious medical complications like cancer, or unstable coronary artery disease which can limit their life expectancy.
It’s not like everyone can have a kidney transplant as the patients who are suffering from any active infection or some other life threatening diseases like heart or lung cancer can’t undergo this surgery. After the transplant, there are medicines that the patient will have to take for life. These medicines are basically immunosuppressive medicines which will suppress the immune system from attacking it to the donor’s kidney and rejecting it. As these medicines will weaken the immune system, there will be a chance of getting infections. Well, even after taking the medicines, body still might reject the kidney. If this happens, the patient will be left with the option of dialysis or another kidney transplant. Immunosuppressive medicines can increase the risk of lymphoma, and other diseases like cataracts, heart diseases, diabetes, cirrhosis or high blood pressure.