HEALTH

Main risks of a kidney transplant

What are the risks of a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is a major surgery. Therefore, it carries the risk of:

  • an allergic reaction to general anesthesia
  • bleeding
  • blood clots
  • a leakage from the ureter
  • a blockage of the ureter
  • an infection
  • rejection of the donated kidney
  • failure of the donated kidney
  • a heart attack
  • a stroke

Potential risks

The most serious risk of a transplant is that your body rejects the kidney. However, it’s rare that your body will reject your donor kidney.

The Mayo Clinic estimates that 90 percent of transplant recipients who get their kidney from a living donor live for at least five years after surgery. About 82 percent of those who received a kidney from a deceased donor live for five years afterward.

If you notice unusual soreness at the incision site or a change in the amount of your urine, let your transplant team know right away. If your body does reject the new kidney, you can resume dialysis and go back on the waiting list for another kidney after being evaluated again.

The immunosuppressant drugs you must take after surgery can lead to some unpleasant side effects as well. These may include:

  • weight gain
  • bone thinning
  • increased hair growth
  • acne
  • a higher risk of developing certain skin cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

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