Kidney Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

17. What is involved in a kidney transplant?

Instead of dialysis, some people with kidney failure -- including older adults -- may be able to receive a kidney transplant. This involves having a healthy kidney from another person surgically placed into your body. The new, donated kidney does the work that your two failed kidneys used to do. The donated kidney can come from an anonymous donor who has recently died, or from a living person -- usually a relative. But you might also be able to receive a kidney from an unrelated donor, including your spouse or a friend.

Kidney transplantation is a treatment for kidney failure -- not a cure. You will need to see your healthcare provider regularly. And you will need to take medications for as long as you have your transplant to suppress your immune system so it doesn't reject the transplanted kidney.