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Kidney Transplant Surgery

Kidney Transplant Surgery Meaning

Kidney transplant surgery also known as a renal transplant is a medical procedure in which a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor is placed into a person whose kidneys have ceased to function properly. The surgery is used to treat end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which can result from various factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, genetic disorders, or autoimmune diseases.

During the surgery, the diseased kidney(s) of the recipient is removed (unless the recipient is receiving an additional kidney) and replaced with the healthy donor kidney. The new kidney takes over the function of filtering waste products, excess salts, and fluids from the body, thus restoring the recipient's kidney function and improving their overall health.

Kidney transplant surgery is a major medical procedure that requires careful matching of the donor and recipient to minimize the risk of rejection. It offers a better quality of life and increased life expectancy for many people with kidney failure compared to long-term dialysis, although lifelong immunosuppressive medications are necessary to prevent the recipient's immune system from attacking the transplanted kidney. Successful kidney transplantation can significantly enhance the recipient's quality of life, allowing them to lead a more normal, healthy, and active life.

Kidney Transplant Types

There are two main types of kidney transplants: living donor transplants and deceased donor transplants.

  1. Living donor kidney transplant: This is a procedure during which a kidney is removed from a healthy donor and surgically placed in an individual with kidney failure. The living donor is often an immediate family member (parent, sibling, or child), but it can also be an extended family member, friend, or even a stranger. Living donor kidneys can also come from paired kidney donation programs or kidney donor chains. Living-donor kidney transplants have a number of advantages over deceased-donor kidney transplants, including a shorter wait time and a higher success rate.

  2. Deceased-donor kidney transplant: This is the most common type of kidney transplant. It involves receiving a kidney from a person who has died. Deceased donor kidneys are typically allocated to people on the kidney transplant waiting list based on a number of factors, including blood type, tissue type, and medical urgency.

There are also several other types of kidney transplants, including:

  1. Expanded criteria donor (ECD) kidney transplant: An ECD kidney is a kidney from a donor who is over the age of 60, has a history of high blood pressure or diabetes, or has other medical conditions that may make the kidney less viable. ECD kidneys are often used for people who have been waiting on the kidney transplant list for a long time.

  2. Standard Criteria Donor (SCD) Transplants: These kidneys come from deceased donors who meet the standard criteria for organ donation. The donor is typically younger and relatively healthy, and the kidney is matched with a recipient based on compatibility factors such as blood type and tissue match.

Kidney Transplant Surgery Procedure

Kidney transplant surgery is a complex medical procedure that involves several steps. Here is an overview of the kidney transplant surgery procedure:


  • Patient Evaluation: The process begins with a thorough evaluation of the recipient's medical history, physical condition, and blood type. The recipient is also screened for any underlying health conditions that may affect the success of the transplant.

  • Donor Selection: If the transplant involves a living donor, the donor is carefully screened to ensure they are in good health and that their kidney is a suitable match for the recipient.

  • Tissue Typing and Crossmatching: Tests are conducted to assess the compatibility of the donor's kidney with the recipient's immune system, including blood type and tissue matching. A positive crossmatch test may require additional treatment.

    Surgery for the Donor:

    If the donor is living, they undergo surgery to remove one of their kidneys. This procedure is known as a nephrectomy. The remaining kidney typically compensates for the loss of the donated kidney, and donors can lead normal, healthy lives with one kidney.

Surgery for the Recipient:

  • The recipient is prepared for surgery, which involves being placed under general anesthesia.

  • The surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen or the side to access the recipient's damaged kidney(s).

  • The surgeon connects the donor kidney's blood vessels to the recipient's blood vessels and attaches the donor kidney's ureter to the recipient's bladder. This establishes blood flow to the new kidney and allows urine to be excreted from the body.

Monitoring and Recovery:

  • After the surgery, the recipient is closely monitored in the recovery room to ensure the new kidney is functioning properly and that there are no complications.

  • The recipient will typically spend several days in the hospital to recover and receive post-operative care. They will also start taking immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney.

Immunosuppressive Medications: Lifelong immunosuppressive medications are prescribed to the recipient to prevent their immune system from rejecting the transplanted kidney. These drugs need to be taken as prescribed to maintain the health of the transplanted kidney.

Post-Transplant Care:

  • Recipients continue to receive medical follow-up and monitoring after the surgery to ensure the health and functionality of the transplanted kidney.

  • They will need to make lifestyle adjustments, such as maintaining a healthy diet, staying physically active, and avoiding substances that can harm the kidneys, such as excessive alcohol and certain medications.

Kidney Transplant Risks

The side effects of Kidney transplant surgery include: 

Short-term complications:

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Narrowing of an artery

  • Blocked ureter

  • Urine leakage

  • Acute rejection

Longer-term complications:

  • an increased risk of infections

  • an increased risk of diabetes

  • high blood pressure

  • weight gain

  • abdominal pain

  • diarrhoea

  • extra hair growth or hair loss

  • swollen gums

  • bruising or bleeding more easily

  • thinning of the bones

  • acne

  • mood swings

  • an increased risk of certain types of cancer, particularly skin cancer

Kidney Tansplant Surgery Benefits

The main advantages of a successful kidney transplant surgery include:-

  • Improved quality of life

  • Increased life expectancy

  • Reduced risk of complications

  • Improved mental healtha

  • Increased sexual function

  • Improved fertility

  • No need for dialysis

  • Work and travel is easier

Kidney Transplant Surgery Recovery Time

The recovery time following kidney transplant surgery can vary from person to person and is influenced by several factors, including the individual's overall health, any complications that may arise, and the type of procedure performed. Here is a general timeline for kidney transplant surgery recovery:

Immediate Postoperative Period (Hospital Stay):

  • Most kidney transplant recipients remain in the hospital for about 5 to 10 days following the surgery.

  • During this time, the medical team closely monitors the recipient's vital signs, graft function (the transplanted kidney), and overall health.

  • Initial recovery involves managing pain, ensuring that the new kidney is functioning properly, and addressing any immediate post-surgical complications.

First Few Weeks Post-Transplant:

  • After discharge from the hospital, recipients will need to visit the transplant center frequently for medical assessments, including blood tests to monitor the transplanted kidney's function.

  • The immunosuppressive medication regimen is closely monitored and adjusted as needed to prevent organ rejection.

  • Most recipients need to stay in close proximity to the transplant center during this period for frequent check-ups.

Months 1-3 Post-Transplant:

  • As recipients recover, they typically experience increased energy levels and improved well-being.

  • Gradually, restrictions on physical activity may be eased, allowing recipients to return to more normal activities.

  • Immunological and clinical monitoring continues during this period.

Months 3-6 Post-Transplant:

  • Many recipients are able to return to work or their usual daily routines during this time.

  • Immunological monitoring remains important, and medications are adjusted based on the recipient's response to treatment.

  • In some cases, if all is going well, the frequency of clinic visits may be reduced.

Long-Term Recovery (Beyond 6 Months):

  • Kidney transplant recipients continue to receive regular follow-up care for the rest of their lives.

  • The frequency of medical check-ups gradually decreases over time, but lifelong monitoring is essential.

  • Immunosuppressive medications are taken consistently to prevent organ rejection.

Kidney Transplant Surgery Cost in Delhi

Kidney transplant surgery is a major procedure that can be life-saving for people with end-stage kidney disease. The cost of kidney transplant surgery in Delhi can vary depending on several factors, including the type of surgery, the hospital or clinic where the surgery is performed, the surgeon's experience, and the patient's medical condition. However, the average cost of kidney transplant surgery in Delhi ranges from โ‚น4,75,000 to โ‚น7,30,000.

The average breakdown of kidney transplant surgery cost in Delhi is as follows:

Kidney Transplant Surgery Cost in Delhi
Procedure Cost (โ‚น)
Doctor's consultation 500 - 1,000
Pre-operative tests 2,000 - 5,000
Surgery (Open) 3,50,000 - 4,50,000
Surgery (Laparoscopic) 2,50,000 - 3,50,000
Post-operative Care (Hospital Stay) 50,000 - 1,00,000
Medications and Follow-ups 20,000 - 50,000
Total 4,75,000 - 7,30,000


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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions