What To Expect
The transplant team will test both you and the possible donor to learn your blood and tissue types. This information helps figure out whether your body’s immune system will accept the new kidney or reject it. If your blood and tissue types are not compatible, the transplant will not be done and you will continue your search for a new kidney. If a suitable match is made, you will be scheduled for surgery.
To minimize the risk of rejection (when the body’s immune system attacks the new kidney), you will need to take immunosuppressive drugs every day. These expensive drugs can make you more prone to infection, diabetes, and some kinds of cancer, and may have other side effects like weight gain, hair growth, and weakened bones. Your doctor will talk to you about this, and tell you how to recognize the signs of rejection and infection.
Many people live well with a transplanted kidney for years or even decades before it stops working well. You can raise your chance of your new kidney working longer by following your doctor’s advice on diet and lifestyle changes, as well as by taking all of your medications as prescribed. If your kidney transplant fails, you will need either a new kidney or dialysis.
For many people, life after a kidney transplant is very much like life before their kidneys failed, but there are some differences. You will need to take a number of expensive drugs each day, which may have side effects. You will also need to limit salty foods and fats in your diet. Your healthcare team will work with you to help keep you healthy.