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Kidney Transplantation

The University Of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System's Kidney Transplant Program is one of the largest programs in Chicago evaluating about 900 patients and performing more than 140 kidney transplants each year. Its one-year success rate is one of the highest in the city.

Marvin's kidney transplant at the University of Illinois Hospital

"I couldn't lift more than 5 pounds; now I can leg press 300."

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What is a Kidney Transplant?

Kidney (renal) transplantation is a surgical procedure that places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. This one new kidney takes over the work of your two failed kidneys.  Your kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from your blood. When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate in your body - a condition known as kidney failure. A kidney transplant is often the best treatment for kidney failure.

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Who Can Receive a Transplant?

If you are on dialysis and have no other health conditions that would increase the risk of surgery, you can receive transplantation. Our team will perform a thorough evaluation to ensure you are a candidate.

If your kidney functions at less than 20% and you are not on dialysis, you can also be a candidate for transplant. There is generally no age limit nor weight restrictions for transplant; we can discuss your options.

How do I get a kidney for transplant?

The kidney can be donated from a deceased person. You can also receive a kidney from a healthy family member (living related donor) or friend (living unrelated donor).  This procedure is referred to as living-donor transplantation. Your donor will not compromise their health with one kidney.  After donating a kidney, the donor's remaining healthy kidney will grow until it is able to do the work of two kidneys. 

Why Can't I Stay on Dialysis?

For many individuals, the time spent on dialysis can cause a considerable amount of discomfort and severely disrupt their lives.  Receiving a kidney transplant will improve your life-style.  Long term use of dialysis is not as desirable for the patient as would be a functioning kidney. With a successful kidney transplant, a patient can live a more normal live with far less long term expense.

When Can You Receive a Transplant?

If you are fortunate enough to have a living donor, we will immediately begin the evaluation process for you and your donor. This process normally takes one to three months if you and your donor follow all the instructions promptly.  If the medical evaluation shows that you are a good candidate for a transplant but you don't have a donor, you will be put on the national transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor.