How Is a Kidney Transplant Done?


Quick Answer

Through a long incision on the lower abdomen, a surgeon attaches the renal artery and the renal vein of the donor kidney to the patient's iliac artery and iliac vein, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. The surgeon then connects the ureter from the donor kidney to the bladder of the patient.

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Full Answer

A kidney transplant surgery is preceded by the insertion of intravenous tubes on the hand, arm, groin or under the collarbone, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. These tubes are used to monitor a patient's heart and blood pressure during the procedure and to obtain blood samples. With the patient under general anesthesia, a tube is then inserted into the lungs through the mouth and attached to a ventilator. After that, the surgical site, usually located on the lower abdomen, is shaved and cleaned.

An incision is then made on the surgical site, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. Before the process of implanting the donor kidney begins, it is carefully inspected for defects. If in good condition, the organ is sutured to the patient's renal blood vessels. Suture lines are then checked to ensure there is no bleeding. To ease access to the ureter during the process of attaching it to the patient's bladder, the right donor kidney is implanted on the left side, while the left donor kidney is implanted on the right side.

After the ureter from the donor kidney is attached to the patient's bladder, the incision on the abdomen is closed, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. Where necessary, a drain is placed on the site to prevent swelling, and a sterile dressing is applied.

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