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Kidney transplant

Kidney transplantation may be the best option for the management of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and has been proven to extend and improve the lives of patients whose kidneys have stopped working. Once an individual with ESRD is close to needing dialysis, referral to a transplant program is an important part of planning for the future.

Once referred, our comprehensive team of specially-trained staff will determine whether a kidney transplant is right for you. This decision is based on our assessment of your physical, psychological and family support condition, and will include appointments with many members of our program. In addition, we will perform blood and urine (if you make any) testing, and evaluation of your heart, lungs, and other organs if needed.

If we conclude a kidney transplant is the best option for you, you’ll be asked if you know of anyone who is willing to donate a kidney to you. This living-donor option is the fastest and sometimes best way to get a kidney.

The kidney donor operation is usually performed in a minimally invasive fashion (laparoscopically) and the donor stays in the hospital, on average, about two to three days.

If no donors are available, a deceased donor organ will be the only other option for obtaining a kidney for transplant. You’ll be placed on a waiting list with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), with a typical wait for a deceased donor organ of three to five years at our center.

Compared to dialysis, kidney transplant is associated with:

  • Better quality of life
  • Lower risk of death
  • Fewer dietary restrictions
  • Lower treatment costs

The following patients may be considered potential candidates for kidney transplantation:

  • Patients with end-stage kidney disease on dialysis.
  • Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (stage IV or V).

What you should know about kidney transplant

  • During a kidney transplant, your surgeon will take a donated kidney and place it in your abdomen or pelvis.
  • Most often, your original kidneys will not be removed. Even though you’re born with two kidneys, you can lead a healthy life with only one functioning transplanted kidney.
  • After the transplant, you’ll have to take immune-suppressing medications to keep your immune system from attacking the new organ and causing rejection.
  • Several diseases, including diabetes and chronic high blood pressure, can cause significant damage to the kidneys and urinary system.
  • We offer two living-donor kidney transplant options:
    • The live kidney donor program, where the patient finds the donor him or herself.
    • The paired donor program, where the patient enters a system that finds a living donor for them.
    • Both programs allow patients to benefit from a living donor transplant, which can improve chances, and decrease the time it takes to return to a healthy, active life.
  • If you have a willing donor who isn’t a match for you, we use our paired donor program to organize a swap, which benefits you and another kidney transplant patient.
  • We also perform pediatric kidney transplants in an environment that’s specially designed for children.

Why choose Geisinger for your kidney transplant?

  • The Geisinger transplant program has been in existence since 1981 and has recently recruited several new physicians to expand our ability to provide cutting-edge clinical care for patients with kidney disease, both before and after transplantation.
  • Geisinger is one of the nation's most-respected hospitals, with a large network of affiliated hospitals that allow us to provide services to patients throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania and the south-central New York region.
  • Our kidney transplant survival statistics demonstrate outcomes that are as good, or better than the national expected outcomes.
  • Our most recent survival statistics surpass national expectations.
  • Our skilled multidisciplinary team strives to rapidly evaluate patients, provide care for them prior to transplant, if needed, and then optimize survival after kidney transplantation.

Treats these conditions

Kidney transplant surgery is sometimes recommended for patients with end-stage kidney disease, which can result from:

  • diabetes
  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis

Specialties and institutes

Connect with other specialties at Geisinger to learn more about these treatments.

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