at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital
Kidney transplantation can provide a new chance for a longer, more active life for people who are on dialysis or have chronic kidney disease. The experienced team at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital will work with you as a partner in your care and will guide you every step of the way – from referral to surgery to recovery and beyond.
People have kidney transplants for a condition called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). ESRD means that your kidneys are no longer able to effectively remove fluid and waste products from your body. Although most people with ESRD are on dialysis, there are some who are not.
The most common causes of ESRD are diabetes and hypertension (also known as high blood pressure). Our team of highly trained doctors, nurses, social workers, dietitians and financial counselors will evaluate you to determine if you are a transplant candidate. If you are determined to be a candidate, you will be added to the waiting list according to your blood type.
How the Transplant Process Works
Once an organ becomes available, you will be called into the hospital for transplant surgery. During the surgery, your new kidney will be placed into your abdomen near the hip bone. Unless you original kidneys are causing problems such as infection, bleeding or pain, they are usually not removed. The surgery lasts approximately three hours.
When the surgery is over you will be transported to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where a team of nurses and doctors will carefully monitor your progress. You may have drainage tubes in your nose and a catheter placed in your bladder for urine drainage. You will also have intravenous lines to give you hydrating fluids and oxygen to help you breathe. Over the next few days, these tubes and lines will be removed, and you can to start eating food and getting out of bed to exercise. Eventually, you will be moved to a regular room for continued monitoring.
What to Expect When You Go Home
Depending on your progress, most people go home in about five days. Afterward you will have to come in to our clinic for twice weekly follow-up visits, where you will also have labs drawn to check the status of your new kidney. As you continue to progress, you will need to be seen much less frequently. Most people can expect to return to work in about six to eight weeks, depending on your progress and the type of work you do.