Renal Transplantation

Renal transplantation (RT) is the treatment of choice for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). A renal transplant is a surgical procedure that’s done to treat kidney failure. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and remove it from the body through your urine. They also help maintain your body’s fluid and electrolyte balance. If your kidneys stop working, waste builds up in your body and can make you very sick.

People whose kidneys have failed usually go through a treatment called dialysis. This treatment mechanically filters waste that builds up in the bloodstream when the kidneys stop working. Some people whose kidneys have failed may qualify for a kidney transplant. In this procedure, one or both kidneys are replaced with donor kidneys from a live or deceased person.

Renal transplant is carried out for patients with end-stage renal failure, that is when the kidney function is irreversibly reduced to below 15% of normal.

During a renal transplant, the donor’s kidney is placed in a new position, in the right or left lower quadrant of the abdomen. The damaged kidneys of the patient are not removed unless required in certain circumstances. After the transplant, the patient will have to take immunosuppressive drugs life-long.

Why Renal Transplantation done ?

Renal transplantation is the definitive treatment for patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD can be defined as patients who are suffering with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and require regular dialysis or possibility of permanent dialysis requirement is imminent.

What are the indicators for renal transplantation?

The patient might go for a kidney transplant if he suffers from:

-          End-Stage Kidney Disease and is on dialysis

-          Advanced chronic kidney disease (stage IV or V with GFR <20ml/min)

-          Chronic kidney disease (stage IV with GFR <30ml/min) and also in a need another organ transplant

-          Chronic kidney disease and type 1 Diabetes (that has not responded to medical treatment)


Successful kidney transplantation in India offers many advantages:

  • Better quality of life: A kidney transplant offers far better degree of renal replacement therapy compared to dialysis. Patients are able to achieve a near-normal and active lifestyle with more stamina, energy and productivity.
  • Freedom from dialysis: Since no dialysis is needed, patients save a lot of time, energy and avoid the complications and inconvenience associated with doing dialysis Lesser diet and fluid restrictions as compared to dialysis patients
  • Longer life expectancy: Kidney transplantation adds many more years to one’s life expectancy
  • Cost-saving: While kidney transplantation may involve more cost upfront, many research studies have proven that in the long run, kidney transplantation saves a lot of money as compared to staying on dialysis.

Just like every transplant, renal transplant is also associated with some of the risks and complications that can occur after the renal transplant procedure. Some of the complications a patient may experience after a renal transplant are rejection of the donor kidney, infection, bleeding, failure of the donor kidney and reaction to medications. Regular follow up and investigations are required for early diagnosis and treatment of any of these complications.