Kidneys cleanse the blood of impurities, control the amount of fluid in your body and produce a hormone that stimulates your body to make red blood cells, a vital component of your blood.
A variety of diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can cause the kidneys to fail. Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure that places a healthy donor kidney from another person in a patient whose kidneys have failed. The transplanted kidney is connected to blood vessels and resumes its normal tasks inside its new body.
Human beings have two kidneys but can live with only one, making it possible for a person to donate a kidney for transplant while still alive. This procedure is called living donor donation. Donor kidneys also may come from a person who has died and registered to be an organ donor while still living or whose family gave consent to donate the person's organs. This is called called deceased or donor donation.
For patients whose kidneys have failed due to type 1 diabetes, pancreas transplant surgery may be performed along with kidney transplant surgery. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin, making it necessary for them to take insulin injections. During pancreas transplantation, surgeons connect the donor pancreas to the blood vessels so that the transplanted pancreas can release insulin into the patient's bloodstream.
The Process of Kidney Transplantation
The Kidney Transplant Program at Rush offers kidney transplantation from both living and deceased donors for patients with kidney failure.
At Rush, both procedures are part of a process that involves preparation, the surgery and follow-up. Click the links below for more information about each step in this process:
(Return to the Kidney Transplant Program home page)