After a successful kidney transplant, your new kidney will filter your blood, and you will no longer need dialysis.
To prevent your body from rejecting your donor kidney, you'll need medications to suppress your immune system. Because these anti-rejection medications 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 success rates
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network:
- Failure of the transplanted kidney is reported in about 4 percent of deceased-donor kidney transplant recipients within one year after transplant and in 21 percent of cases five years after transplant.
- Among living-donor kidney transplant recipients, failure rates are about 3 percent at one year and 14 percent at five years after transplant.
Survival rates among kidney transplant recipients in U.S. transplant centers can be found online 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 decision depends on your current health, your ability to withstand surgery and your expectations for maintaining a certain quality of life.
June 24, 2016
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Renal transplantation. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- Partnering with your transplant team: The patient's guide to transplantation. United Network for Organ Sharing. https://www.unos.org/wp-content/uploads/unos/WEPNTK.pdf. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- 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 March 11, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Organ matching. http://www.organdonor.gov/about/organmatching.html. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- 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 March 11, 2016.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Kidney transplant. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Hart A., et al. OPTN/SRTR Annual Data Report: Kidney. American Journal of Transplantation. 2016;16:11.
- Brennan DC. HLA matching and graft survival in kidney transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Rossi AP, et al. Evaluation of the potential renal transplant recipient. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Klein CL, et al. HLA and ABO sensitization and desensitization in renal transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Riggin ER. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 7, 2016.
- Venkataraman V, et al. Dialysis issues prior to and after renal transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 15, 2016.
- Rees L, et al. Overview of renal replacement therapy (RRT) for children with chronic kidney disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 15, 2016.
- Kidney disease: causes. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneydiscauses. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- Berns JS. Patient information: Dialysis or kidney transplantation—Which is right for me. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Organ transplantation. http://www.organdonor.gov/about/transplantationprocess.html. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- UNOS. Frequently asked questions about kidney transplant evaluation and listing. https://www.unos.org/wpcontent/uploads/unos/Kidney_Eval_Brochure.pdf. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- UNOS Transplant Living. Selecting a hospital. http://www.transplantliving.org/before-the-transplant/getting-on-the-list/selecting-a-hospital/. Accessed April 5, 2016.
- Living donation: Information you need to know. Transplant Living. https://www.unos.org/donation/living-donation/. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Kidney transplant. National Kidney Foundation. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Vella J. Risk factors for graft failure in kidney transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Preparing for the transplant. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/preparing_for_transplant.aspx. Accessed March 22, 2016.
- Orandi BJ, et al. Kidney transplants from incompatible live donors. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;374:940.
- Stegall M. Dosing regimen of eculizumab added to conventional treatment in positive cross match living donor kidney transplant. ClinicalTrials.gov. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00670774?term=eculizumab+and+mayo&rank=3. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Heilman RL, et al. Impact of early conversion from tacrolimus to sirolimus on chronic allograft changes in kidney recipients on rapid steroid withdrawal. Transplantation. 2012;93:47.
- Mai ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. April 27, 2016.