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A kidney transplant is performed when someone's kidney is not functioning as it should as a result of an illness or injury. The kidney that is transplanted is often from someone who is deceased, but it can be taken from someone who is alive who has two healthy kidneys and is willing to donate one to someone else.
Before someone living can donate a kidney, there are several tests that must be conducted to determine if the blood types match as well as a few other features that would mean the best outcome for the recipient so that the body doesn't reject the new kidney.
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Several health issues arise when the kidneys stop functioning properly. Waste begins to accumulate, as well as excess fluids. The blood pressure can begin to rise, which can impact other organs in the body. Dialysis is an option, but if the kidneys are too far gone, then the only treatment is a transplant. If the transplant is not received in time, then the body will begin to shut down. Kidney disease and failure are commonly seen in diabetics as well as those who have high blood pressure or chronic bouts of kidney infections.
Along with a decrease in the risk of death associated with kidney failure, a transplant is beneficial for patients because it offers a renewed quality of life and can save money that would otherwise be spent on dialysis treatments and other medications. If there are indications that either one or both kidneys will fail in the future because of an illness or an injury, then a doctor can sometimes perform a kidney transplant before dialysis begins if a donor is available.
There are a few people who might not benefit from a transplant. Patients who are elderly or those who have other health issues might not get the best benefits from a transplant that someone who is younger and who doesn't have other health issues would see. A benefit of a kidney transplant and donation is that only one good kidney is needed, which is why someone who is living can donate a kidney as long as the other one is functional enough to support the body.
Some of the risks that are involved with a kidney transplant include blood clots that travel to other areas of the body, infections, and rejection of the kidney by the body. Medications are often given after the transplant to keep the body from rejecting the new kidney. After a transplant, many patients live a healthy life for many years with little to no restrictions.
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