Quick Facts

Kidney Transplants

Kidney Transplants


Surgery to remove the kidney is called…


Surgery to remove the kidney is called…


Surgery to remove the kidney is called…


See our qualified physicians

Our Kidney Transplants Specialists

Laboratory Director

Dr. Korman, Howard



McDevitt, William


Dr. Kearney, David


Kidney Transplants

A kidney transplant is one of the most common organ transplant surgeries performed today. In this surgery, kidneys that aren’t working well are replaced by a kidney from a donor. Kidney transplants have been performed since the 1950s. This surgery is a lifesaving choice for thousands of patients with endstage kidney disease (kidney renal failure). If you have kidney failure and cannot have a transplant, dialysis can sustain life. Dialysis cleans the blood by removing waste products such as urea.

What Happens When Kidneys Fail?

Harmful waste builds up in the body, which leads to:

  • high blood pressure
  • fluid buildup (edema)
  • salts and acids in the blood getting out of balance
  • decreased red blood cells
  • weak bones

All of these can be harmful, even deadly, to the heart, brain and skeleton.

How Do the Kidneys Work?


The kidneys are fist-size organs that handle the body’s fluid and chemical levels. They are found on both sides of the spine behind the liver, stomach, pancreas and bowels. Healthy kidneys clean waste from the blood and make urine. They keep elements in the blood (sodium, potassium and calcium) in balance. Kidneys also make hormones that control blood pressure and red blood cells.


There are many signs of kidney failure, such as:

  • swelling of the hands, feet and face (edema)
  • headaches (due to high blood pressure)
  • seizures
  • pale skin color (due to low iron)
  • coffee colored urine
  • chronic bad breath that cannot be freshened by brushing your teeth
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • itchy skin

Testing and Treatment

Surgery to remove the kidney is called a nephrectomy. Rather than removing the donor’s organ through a traditional surgical incision, most donor operations are performed laparoscopically with special instruments inserted through a few tiny incisions in the abdomen.

The recovery period for a living donor surgery is rather short. Most patients stay in the hospital one to two nights and return to normal activities in a few weeks. They will follow up with their surgeon a few weeks after surgery to ensure the incisions are healing properly and that their remaining kidney’s function remains normal.

Living with the one remaining healthy kidney does not pose a problem for healthy donors; however, you must take extra care to avoid conditions that could damage their kidney such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Frequently Asked Questions

To donate a kidney, you must be in good health and have normal kidney function and anatomy. Contact us for more information.

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