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Kidney Transplant

When your kidneys fail, you need a kidney transplant to help you regain your kidney function and improve your overall health.

These are the most common causes of kidney failure:

Your new kidney will come from a kidney donor, which can include one of the following:

  • Living donor: From a healthy friend, relative or acquaintance
  • Deceased donor: From a registered organ donor who has recently passed away

Living donor transplants

You have two kidneys, but you can live with just one. This makes it possible for people to donate a kidney to a loved one. The kidney transplant program at Rush specializes in the most advanced techniques for living donor transplants.

For kidney transplant recipients: benefits of living donor transplants

  • There is a greater chance of long-term success with living donors.
  • Kidneys from living donors usually begin working immediately.
  • You will likely feel dramatically better shortly after your transplant.

For living kidney donors: information for living donors

Specialists at Rush are highly experienced laparoscopic surgery for live kidney donors.

  • During this surgery, your surgeon makes small incisions in your abdomen.
  • The surgeon then inserts the necessary instruments, including a camera and laparoscopic instruments.
  • Your surgeon will then separate the kidney and remove it through a small opening.

Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy offers the following benefits:

  • Lower risk of infection
  • Decreased pain and discomfort
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay

Kidney transplant surgery

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which your surgeon will implant a healthy kidney from a donor. Here are some important things to know about your transplant surgery:

Before surgery

  • You will be under general anesthesia and unconscious during your surgery.
  • You’ll need a temporary bladder catheter to measure your urine output.
  • You may also have a central venous catheter (usually placed in the neck) to allow your care team to draw blood and give you intravenous (IV) medications before, during and after the surgery.

During surgery

  • Your surgeon will make a 5- to 10-centimeter incision on your abdominal near your groin to implant the new kidney.
  • Your surgeon will then connect the artery and vein of your new kidney to the artery and vein going to your leg (just above the groin). This allows blood to flow through your new, healthy donor kidney.
  • Your surgeon will also connect the ureter from the new kidney to your bladder. This allows urine from the new kidney to pass into your bladder.
  • Your surgeon will usually not remove your own kidneys during the surgery.
  • Kidney transplant surgery takes three to four hours.

Immediately after surgery

  • After your surgery, you will be in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) for close monitoring.
  • If you do not have any complications, your care team will transfer you to the transplant unit the day after your surgery.

Why choose Rush for kidney transplant

  • Specialists in the kidney transplant program at Rush are highly experienced in the most advanced transplant techniques and procedures.
  • The kidney transplant team is highly experienced in handling the most complex cases, including transplants for people with HIV and hepatitis C.
  • Rush has been an actively involved in local and national organ-sharing programs for nearly 30 years. The surgical team at Rush is available 24 hours a day to respond to offers of organs for you.
  • The nephrology program at Rush is consistently ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.