What Are The Steps of a Kidney Transplant?


Most of us do not know what is really involved in a kidney transplant. We go about our daily lives living fairly healthy and perhaps unaware of those who are waiting patiently for or are currently undergoing a kidney transplant. This is such a major but necessary step for anyone who is in kidney failure. People who donate a kidney are giving new life to a person who has suffered terribly. Your car donations can make a difference in the life of a kidney patient.


Finding a donor is a lengthy and particular process. A donor who has died is random and the kidney simply needs to fit the criteria but a live donor is giving away a part of their body selflessly. The live donor can risk potentially losing their own health if they too were to develop kidney disease but only had one kidney to work with. A kidney donor can go on to live a very healthy and normal life and save the life of a friend or loved one too. There is said to be a forever bond with a person who donates a kidney to save a life. Once a donor is found that donor and the recipient are closely monitored. Health of both parties must meet particular criteria.


Once admitted to the hospital for the transplant the patient and donor, if donor is live, are given a physical exam, blood work is done, a chest x-ray is done and sometimes even an EKG or other tests. Determining if the patient/s is/are healthy or ready for the transplant is a priority.

  • If the patient has any infections or a fever, surgery will be postponed and if the donor is live they will be reserved for later or the donated kidney can be used for another recipient.
  • If the donated kidney has any problems and is not passed as viable for any reason the recipient will be notified and sent home to wait until the right kidney is found.

Patient Preparation

  1. Patient/s will have chest and abdomen shaved and prepped for surgery.
  2. A laxative or enema will be given so no bowel blockage occurs after surgery.
  3. An IV will be given for medicine to be administered.
  4. Typically, a sedative is given to reduce stress of patient/s

Actual Transplant Surgery

  1. A general anesthetic is given and sometimes a local is used where the incision will be made.
  2. The patient is monitored as the incision is made and the old kidney is removed.
  3. The new kidney is placed and all essential parts are attached carefully. The ureter is attached to the bladder
  4. Sometime a small drain is inserted into the abdomen to drain excess fluid.
  5. Patient is sewn back up and monitored closely.

After Surgery

Most patients go to ICU or Acute Care Unit to wake up and recover. After waking patients will be asked to cough to ensure lung function is good. Patient will be in some pain but nurses make sure it is manages with medicine. Fluids and medications will be administered for a few days after surgery. Kidney transplants are NOT day surgery, patient will be in the hospital for a while.

After surgery a catheter is usually inserted to ensure proper drainage of the bladder. This is only temporary and will eventually be removed. Sometimes this is done before surgery.

If a drain was used this will remain for up to 10 days after surgery.

In some cases, dialysis might be used temporarily to remove anything from the new kidney that might cause rejection. This is done case by case.

Patient will need to take anti-rejection medication the rest of their life and be monitored regularly to be sure the new kidney is functioning well.

Where Does the Old Kidney Go?

Diseased kidneys can be used to research for a cure with the permission of the patient.

This is the process involved in a kidney transplant. If you or someone you know has or will be going through this procedure, knowing what is involved can give you some semblance of peace of mind. Visit Kidney Cars and learn how to donate your car to help the great cause of Kidney disease.