What is a kidney transplant?
Kidney transplantation or renal transplantation is the organ transplant of a kidney in a patient with end-stage renal failure.
There are two types of kidney transplantation:
- Cadaveric Transplant - where the kidney is taken from a deceased person, usually a motor accident victim
- Live Donor Transplant - Where the kidney is taken from a live donor, usually a family member.
The cadaveric transplant is performed when the accident victim becomes deceased in hospital, and when an independent team of doctors have certified that the donor is deceased. Blood is taken from the donor, whereupon the closest matching patient on the kidney transplant waiting list is contacted, and brought to the hospital for the transplant procedure.
The live donor transplant is performed after exhaustive testing to determine that antibody and HLA matches are sufficient to give the best possible chance of the kidney transplant being successful. The kidney is taken from the donor under a general anaesthetic (generally through a small incision in the front of the abdomen - this is called laporoscopic surgery), and placed into the abdomen of the recipient.
Immunosuppressive treatment is required once the kidney transplant has been performed. This will stop the recipients body from recognising the transplanted kidney as a foreign object, and rejecting it.