Kidney Transplantation Procedure And Cost In India
When the kidneys do not function adequately to filter the toxins and wastes, the condition is known as kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease affects one in ten people to some extent. It can begin at any age depending on genes, environment and lifestyle. Since diabetes and high blood pressure are highly prevalent in India, people are at a higher risk of losing their kidney functions. When both the kidneys fail, the physician will suggest either dialysis or a kidney transplantation process which does the function of the kidneys.
A kidney transplant is one of the most commonly performed organ transplantation surgeries. A successful kidney transplantation process offers a better quality of life than dialysis. Unlike dialysis treatment, transplant offers more freedom with high energy levels and minimum diet restriction. Let us discuss all you need to know about the kidney transplantation process ranging from the procedure to cost.
Step 1: Eligibility Tests:
Before proceeding with the kidney transplantation process, the nephrologist will conduct eligibility tests for the donor and the recipient to ensure that the transplant surgery will be safe and effective. A preliminary evaluation will be beneficial to rule out potential complications and organ rejection. After evaluating the health status of the donor and recipient, further tests to check tissue matching will be conducted to know the compatibility between the donor and recipient.
The nephrologist will suggest all the eligibility tests for the recipient to check whether the person's body is strong enough to withstand a transplant surgery. Specific comorbidities like cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, heart and lung disease makes a person ineligible to undergo the kidney transplantation process.
Step 2: Waiting List:
A waiting list is for a recipient for whom an organ donor is not available. Once all the eligibility tests are over and the transplant team has approved the recipient's status for surgery, the recipient will be put on a waiting list until they match ideally with a potential donor. During this period, the candidate should regularly be in touch with the transplant coordinator and update them in case of any changes in contact information. The ranking of the waiting list varies according to the type of organ transplant, blood group, hospital and the region (zone) where the candidate has registered.
Step 3: The Kidney Transplant Surgery Procedure:
The kidney transplantation process will involve two surgeries. One is for the donor, and the other is for the recipient. Read further to understand the processes of donor and recipient surgeries:
1. Donor surgery:
A healthy kidney shall be transplanted from a living or deceased donor. One can consider close circles like friends, spouses, or immediate relatives for live organ donation. In some cases, a live donor could even be a stranger willing to donate a kidney to a kidney failure patient. A deceased donor is one who has given consent to donate their kidneys after their death. The kidney donor surgery takes place in either of the following two techniques:
- Open nephrectomy: Open nephrectomy is the traditional method of removing a kidney from the donor's body. In this procedure, the surgeon will make incisions for 15-20 cm along the side of the stomach to remove the kidney.
- Laparoscopic surgery: Laparoscopic or keyhole surgery is a newer technique where smaller incisions of 1-3 cm are done through which the surgeon will insert instruments to remove the kidney. This technique is becoming more common. Though the procedure takes longer than open nephrectomy, the recovery time is comparatively less.
2. Recipient surgery:
Several tests like EKG, X-ray, urine and blood evaluation tests will be conducted as soon as the recipient gets admitted. The surgery typically takes around 3-4 hours, where a catheter will be inserted into the bladder to measure urine output. This catheter will stay for 3-5 days after the surgery.
The transplant surgeon will create an incision about 8 inches long at either side of the abdomen to place the new kidney inside. The new kidney will be positioned above the front of the hip bone, and its blood vessels will be connected to the existing blood vessels. The surgeon will not remove the diseased kidney unless it is necessary.
Step 4: Post-transplant Phase:
In the post-transplant phase, a catheter and an IV line will be connected for a few days until the nephrologist suggests removing them. The catheter measures urine output, and the IV line helps supply fluids, pain medications and nutrients. The new kidney typically starts working immediately. However, in other cases, it may take some time to work. It is normal to feel a bit sore after surgery, and it may take a few days to recover completely post-surgery.
Cost Of Kidney Transplant In India:
The average cost of a kidney transplant in India ranges between Rs. 4,00,000 to Rs. 10,00,000. However, additional costs may add up depending on the eligibility tests, follow up care, medications and surgeons fee.
Precautions To Follow After Kidney Transplantation Process:
Infection and rejection are the two most significant complications of the kidney transplantation process. The transplant team will prescribe anti-rejection medicines (immunosuppressants) to avoid organ rejection. It is advisable to take all the medications prescribed by your transplant team. The recipient should refrain from taking vitamin or herbal supplements without seeking approval from the transplant team.