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The kidneys play an essential and vital function for the survival of the human body because, in addition to allowing the production of urine to eliminate substances that are otherwise toxic to our body, they are also able to regulate and maintain balance some factors that would enable the regular functioning of our metabolism.
Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a kidney from a donor is placed in the body of a patient with terminal renal failure. This is not a new procedure. The first renal transplant was performed in 1954, and it has become a life-saving treatment for many patients with acute renal failure. It is performed in India from 1965 and is a widely practiced therapy.
Various diseases, unfortunately, can damage the kidneys and some of these lead inevitably to the loss of their function. When this happens, the only therapeutic options for the patient are dialysis and kidney transplantation.
The surgery involves the union of the blood vessels of the kidney with the iliac vessels of the recipient and the attachment of the ureter, coming from the same donor to the bladder.
As is necessary in the case of all organ or tissue transplants even in the case of kidney transplantation, in order to preserve the functionality of the transplanted organ, the patient must be given immunosuppressive drugs that serve to modify the immune system which, otherwise, would tend to destroy (reject) the new kidney.
Most patients with chronic renal failure may be candidates for kidney transplantation. There is no defined age limit beyond which transplantation is not performed: in general, patients under the age of 70 can be transplanted; however, the state of health and general well-being is also essential.
For the introduction on the waiting list for a transplant, the clinical history, previous surgical interventions, including previous transplants and the existence of heart, lung or liver diseases will also be considered.
All these elements will be carefully evaluated for each individual patient, during a nephro-surgical visit, in order to ensure for all patients the best decision.
Since only human kidneys can be transplanted in humans, each kidney transplant implies the presence of a donor. The two types of kidney donors are:
Living donor – The donation of a kidney from a living donor is typically performed by a family member both of same ancestry and unrelated. As for the donor, kidney withdrawal carries the same risks as all surgical procedures under general anesthesia. The remaining kidney will also be able to do the work of the donated kidney. The living donor has an absolutely normal life expectancy, and the donation of the kidney does not imply any restriction both in terms of lifestyle and physical activity.
Deceased donor– A deceased donor is a person with irreversible brain damage who has been declared dead. Recipients are selected from patients on the waiting list based on blood group and tissue compatibility, age group and waiting time on the list.
Many factors can contribute to determining which will be the best choice in your case. The group of surgeons and nephrologists at your treatment center in India will evaluate together with you all the various aspects of the different options to arrive at the best choice.
In most cases, a kidney is sufficient to guarantee an adequate function. However, in recent years the use of donors of more advanced or non-ideal age has led to the simultaneous transplantation of both kidneys obtaining the transplantation of a greater functioning renal mass, with very satisfactory results.
The cost of a kidney transplant in India may be as low as INR 4 lakhs at a state-run facility, and it can climb to INR 11 lakhs at a private hospital that is USD 5,500 to 15,000. This is extremely cheap compared to the rest of the world where it costs about USD 100,000. The hospitals in India boast of a 90% success rate in kidney transplants making it the choicest destination for many patients. India has a vast network of hospitals both state-run and private that offer top-notch kidney transplant operations.