Kidney Transplant Options

Kidney transplantation may be a treatment option for long term survival, giving patients the potential of a life free of kidney failure and dialysis treatments.  Transplantation is a widely accepted option for those with end-stage organ failure. In the U.S., more than 17,000 kidney transplants are performed each year.

Types of Kidney Transplants

Live Donor Kidney Transplant

Live donor kidneys can be transplanted from a living-related or living non-related donor.  There are many advantages to live donor transplants, such as:

  • Significant reduction in wait time to transplant
  • Significantly improved short- and long-term survival rates for transplants from living donors than transplants from deceased donors
  • Flexible scheduling of transplant surgery for added convenience for both the recipient and the donor
  • Generally shorter recipient recovery time after kidney transplant, because the transplanted organ comes from a healthy, living person and the kidney often starts working and making urine immediately
  • Occasionally fewer anti-rejection medications are necessary

Living Related Kidney Transplant

A living related donor is related by blood.

Living Non-related Kidney Transplant

A living non-related donor is a person who is living, but not blood-related. It could be a spouse, friend or even a stranger. 30-40 percent of transplants performed today are from donors not related to the recipient.

Kidney Paired Donation

Our patients can participate in Kidney Paired Donation, commonly known as “kidney swap,” if they have suitable living donors that are incompatible due to blood group or tissue type, increasing the likelihood of benefiting from a living donor transplant.

Incompatible Donor Kidney Transplant

Beaumont has protocols for ABO-incompatible transplantation as well as HLA incompatibility (positive crossmatch), which can increase the availability of kidneys from living donors.

ABO Incompatible Transplant

Ordinarily, if a patient receives a kidney from a donor with a different blood type, his or her immune system will recognize the organ as foreign and attack it. A process called plasmapheresis is used to remove the antibodies against the different blood type. Beaumont offers a protocol that allows some recipients with incompatible blood type donors to undergo this procedure, allowing the patient to receive a transplant with a donated kidney that is not an ideal “match” for their blood or tissue type.

HLA Incompatible Transplant

Some kidney transplant candidates have a donor, but have strong antibodies (the cells that fight of germs or foreign tissues) in their blood against the donor.  This is called a positive crossmatch or HLA incompatibility. These potential recipients can undergo a desensitization procedure similar to the one used with ABO incompatible transplant patients.

Kidney Allocation System

In 2014, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization that manages the nation’s transplant system, started a new system of allocating (or giving out) kidneys to candidates on the kidney transplant waiting list in an effort to make the best use of donated organs. Their primary goal was to make the system better without making major changes to the parts of the system that work well.  The new system should help increase the chance for transplant and provide longer function with the transplanted kidney.  It should also help shorten the waiting time for some groups of people who often wait a long time for transplant because they are hard to match with most kidneys.  If you are already on the waiting list, you will continue to be on the list under the new system.

Deceased Donor Kidney Transplants

Deceased donor kidney transplant is a transplant where the donated kidney comes from person who has died. When you are on a waiting list for a kidney, you are waiting for a deceased donor.  Unlike living donor transplantation, the deceased-donor kidney transplant surgery cannot be scheduled ahead of time.