Kidney transplant for children

Experts in pediatric kidney transplant understand the unique challenges of children with kidney failure. Pediatric kidney transplant consultation

A Mayo Clinic pediatric kidney transplant doctor talks with a girl.

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At Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota, pediatricians and doctors trained in treating children with kidney disease (pediatric nephrologists) evaluate and treat children who may need kidney transplants. Children needing hospitalization receive care at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.

At Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, doctors trained in kidney conditions (nephrologists) partner with Phoenix Children's Hospital to treat children who may need kidney transplants.

Why choose Mayo Clinic for your child's kidney transplant?

In some ways, the process for kidney transplant in children is similar to that for adults. But because children with kidney disease face unique challenges, they will benefit from the extensive experience of Mayo Clinic pediatric kidney transplant experts:

  • Pediatric transplant surgeons use specialized pediatric surgical techniques, including removal of nonfunctioning kidneys at the time of transplant. This minimizes the number of surgeries for the child.
  • Pediatric nephrologists understand how a child's body processes the drugs needed to prevent complications.
  • A multidisciplinary team works with you and your child throughout the transplant process. This team includes pharmacists, dietitians, physical therapists, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants and nurses. It usually includes social workers, child-life specialists, chaplains and transplant financial coordinators as well.

Where will the new kidney come from?

Your child may be eligible for either a deceased-donor kidney transplant or a living-donor transplant. Living kidneys may be donated by someone related (for example, a parent) or unrelated. Parents may also be part of the paired donation exchange if they're not a good match for their child.

Learn more about the Mayo Clinic Living Donor Program.

Who will do the surgery?

Your child's surgery will be performed by a pediatric operating team, led by a pediatric kidney surgeon.

What can I expect after my child's surgery?

How long your child stays in the hospital after surgery depends on his or her medical condition and recovery. The transplant team will monitor your child's recovery.

After your child has left the hospital, you and your child will need to stay near the hospital for about four weeks so that doctors can monitor his or her recovery. Your child will have regular follow-up appointments to check for signs of rejection. After the transplant, a kidney transplant coordinator who is a registered nurse will provide your child with continuing care.

The transplant team will work closely with your primary care provider to coordinate care close to home once your child has completed the four-week recovery period.

Most kidney transplants in children are successful. Children with a new kidney will need medicines for the rest of their life to help prevent complications. And they'll need to have labs checked regularly to make sure the new kidney is working properly.

Nov. 22, 2019