After a successful kidney transplant, your new kidney will filter your blood, so you will no longer need dialysis.
To prevent your body from rejecting your donor kidney, you'll require medications to suppress your immune system. You'll likely take these drugs for the rest of your life. Because medications to suppress your immune system make your body more vulnerable to infection, your doctor may also prescribe antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medications.
After transplant, skin checkups with a dermatologist to screen for skin cancer and keeping your other cancer screening up to date is strongly advised.
Kidney transplant survival rates
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network:
- About 98 percent of people who receive a living-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 90 percent live for at least five years.
- About 94 percent of adults who receive a deceased-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 82 percent live for at least five years.
Results for each transplant center can be found at the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
If your new kidney fails, you can resume dialysis or consider a second transplant. You may also choose to discontinue treatment. This important decision depends on your current health, your ability to withstand surgery and your expectations for maintaining a certain quality of life.
Jan. 24, 2015
- Taal MW, et al. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Partnering with your transplant team: The patient's guide to transplantation. United Network for Organ Sharing. http://www.unos.org/donation/index.php?topic=patient_brochures. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Treatment methods for kidney failure: Transplantation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/transplant/index.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Kidney Kaplan-Meier patient survival rates for transplants performed: 1997-2004. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/latestData/rptStrat.asp. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- The kidneys and how they work. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/index.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Mai ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Sept. 30, 2014.