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Kidney transplantation is a surgical treatment in which a healthy kidney obtained from a living or deceased donor is grafted into a patient with end-stage chronic kidney disease to restore the functions of the kidney.
One year after transplantation, more than 95% of patients do not require dialysis, and they generally have a reasonably good quality of life.
The objective of the transplant is to restore the functions of the kidney, which include depuration of toxins from the blood, achieving hydro-electrolyte equilibrium (balance between the amount of water and minerals), and hormone synthesis, among others, thereby avoiding the need for patient dialysis.
The kidneys are organs located on both sides of the spinal column, in the so-called lumbar fossa at the back of the abdomen and protected by the ribs. They are bean-shaped and are about 12 centimetres long and four centimetres wide. About a litre of blood per minute flows through the renal artery. The kidney is made up of structures called nephrons. Each human kidney contains about a million nephrons. Their main function is to filter the blood to regulate water and soluble substances, reabsorb useful content, and excrete the rest in the form of urine.
Types of kidney transplant
Kidney transplantations are classified according to the type of donor.
Living donor transplant. In this case, the kidney comes from a healthy person (a family member or friend) who voluntarily donates the organ to a loved one. Prior to donation, different medical studies are performed on the donor and the recipient to confirm the viability of the donation and the compatibility between both individuals.
Deceased donor transplant. There are currently two different types of deceased donor: brain-dead donors and cardiac-death donors. After acceptance by the donor’s relatives, the viability of the organs to be transplanted will be reviewed and, if they are viable, they are extracted.