Our Philosophy of Care
At the University of Rochester Medical Center, we believe a kidney transplant is a lifelong commitment for you and for us. We will stay involved with you and your family through the entire transplant process. We get to know you very well and recognize that preparing for and living with a transplant will affect your lifestyle in many ways. We will help you maintain and resume many of your activities and even become involved in new ones.
We are committed to the time, effort, and resources required to make your transplant a success. Our definition of success extends far beyond the operating room. We will work with you to make your life after the transplant as successful as possible.
What is a Kidney Transplant?
A kidney transplant is when a patient whose kidneys are no longer working gets a healthy kidney from another person. A transplant surgeon opens the patient’s abdomen and places the healthy kidney in the patient’s body. With kidney transplants, the donor can be living or deceased.
The Kidney Transplant Process
- Evaluation - You will need to be evaluated to determine if you are eligible for a transplant. The evaluation includes a variety of tests, including a physical exam, X-rays and CT scans, blood tests and any other tests your providers feel necessary.
- Finding an kidney - If you qualify for a kidney transplant, you will be placed on a waiting list to receive an organ. Or, if you have a family member who is a compatible match and is willing to donate their kidney, living donor transplantation may be an option for you.
- Getting a kidney - If you are on the waitlist and a kidney becomes available, you will need to get to the hospital immediately for the procedure.
- Surgery - During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision and places the new kidney in your lower abdomen.
- Recovery - After your surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for about a week. You will then need several checkups in the weeks after you leave the hospital. During the years following your surgery, you will need to receive follow-up care from your transplant team.
You’ll be contacted when a kidney is available. If your new kidney is from a living donor, both you and the donor will be in surgery at the same time. One team of surgeons will do the nephrectomy (removing the kidney from the donor), while another prepares you to receive the donated kidney.
If your new kidney is from a person who has recently died, your surgery starts when it arrives at the hospital and the results of the cross-match test, described above, are negative (satisfactory).
The surgery can take from 3 to 4 hours or more. You will be given general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision in your lower abdomen and puts the new kidney in place. Then the surgeon connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your own artery and vein. Your blood will then flow through the new kidney. The ureter from the new kidney will be connected to your bladder. Often, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as your blood starts flowing through it, but sometimes a few weeks pass before it starts working. Unless they are causing infection or high blood pressure, your own kidneys are left in place.