Kidney transplant surgery
Find out what happens during the transplant operation
- Kidney transplant surgery takes 2-4 hours
- You will be put to sleep under a general anaesthetic while the transplant takes place
- There are many different ways that a kidney can be transplanted. Your surgeon will explain their preferred technique
- You will need special tubes inserted into your arms, neck and bladder for medicines, fluids, and so you can urinate
- You will usually only need one kidney to be transplanted. Some patients do require two (dual kidney transplantation)
How is kidney transplant surgery performed?
There are many different ways that a kidney can be transplanted. The surgical team caring for you will explain their preferred technique, and which would be best for you. Most of the time, a single kidney is placed into either the right or left groin (lower abdomen).
How it works
How kidneys are connected
You have a right and left kidney, which are connected to your body via arteries (red) and veins (blue). They are also joined to your bladder.
Kidneys in close up
This is a close up of a pair of kidneys. The cross section shows how the kidney artery (red) and kidney vein (blue) spread across the kidney. The yellow tube is the ureter, which connects the kidneys to your bladder.
Connecting a donor kidney
The donor kidney is transplanted alongside your own kidneys, and connected at these three points - the kidney artery, kidney vein and ureter.
Close up of a transplanted kidney
This shows a transplanted kidney and its different connection points. The stent inside the ureter helps the join heal and is removed several weeks after the surgery.
Some things that might happen during your kidney transplant surgery
An example of a kidney transplant technique
After you have been put to sleep under anaesthetic, the surgery will begin.
Your own kidneys will usually be left where they are, unless they're causing problems such as pain or infection. First, an incision (cut) is made in your lower abdomen (tummy), through which the donated kidney is put into place.
Medical terms explained
This is when a very small piece of tissue is taken for analysis. It is used to diagnose rejection.
A soft plastic tube that is often placed inside the ureter during a kidney transplant to help the join heal. It will be taken out several weeks after the surgery using a simple procedure.
A type of dialysis where toxins are removed from your blood through the lining of your tummy (abdomen).