Benefits and risks of a kidney transplant

How a kidney transplant can help and problems that might occur

Key points

  • A kidney transplant is the best treatment for many patients with long-term kidney failure
  • Most people who have a kidney transplant do very well and risks are generally lower than staying on dialysis
  • However, not every patient feels better or lives longer after having a kidney transplant
  • There can be serious risks from the surgery and the transplant medicines

What are the benefits?

A kidney transplant is usually the best treatment for kidney failure in patients who are fit enough for the operation. 

Main advantages of a successful kidney transplant:

  • Most kidney transplant patients live longer
  • Most patients enjoy a better quality of life
  • No longer need dialysis
  • Higher energy levels
  • Work and travel is easier
  • Fewer restrictions on what you can eat and drink
  • Improved sex life and increased fertility

Learn about the benefits of kidney transplants

What are the risks?

A kidney transplant is a complex process that can cause problems for some patients.

Main complications of a kidney transplant:

  • It is a major operation and comes with surgical risks, like bleeding
  • Infections are common after a kidney transplant
  • You will need to take strong medicines to lower your immune system
  • You may need further surgery to fix any problems
  • Though rare, it is possible that the transplanted kidney doesn’t work
  • Sometimes, kidney disease can return in the transplanted kidney
  • Rarely, serious or even life-threatening complications can occur 

Learn about the risks of kidney transplants

Average survival statistics

Kidney transplants from living donors

99 out of 100

Patients are alive one year after a living donor kidney transplant*

86 to 90 out of 100

Patients are alive ten years after a living donor kidney transplant*

Kidney transplants from deceased donors

96 to 97 out 100

Patients are alive one year after a deceased donor kidney transplant*

72 to 76 out of 100

Patients are alive ten years after a deceased donor kidney transplant*

More information

Discuss your options with your kidney doctor (nephrologist)

If you’re considering a kidney transplant, your first step is to talk to your kidney doctor. 

If you and your doctor agree a kidney transplant may be a good treatment for you, they will arrange for you to have a series of tests.

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