Transplant – Having a meaningful conversation with your nephrologist

Pure Life RenalKidney Disease

There are two types of treatment for kidney failure – dialysis or transplant. Many people feel that a kidney transplant offers more freedom and a better quality of life than dialysis. In making your decision about the best treatment for you, you may find it useful to talk to your doctor about a kidney transplant. What kind of questions should you ask your nephrologist about kidney transplant? Here are a few great questions that will help you start the dialogue with your doctor:

  1. Who qualifies for a transplant? How do I qualify? What is the evaluation process to be listed on the transplant list?
  2. How long does a transplant last? How long does it take to receive a transplant?
  3. What is my recovery time after surgery? How long will I have to take off from work?
  4. Can my family member or friend donate a kidney to me? What is a cadaver kidney? What is the process?
  5. What is the cost involved with this surgery? Do I still have to take medicine after transplant?

Prior to being considered for a kidney, you will go to a transplant center for a thorough evaluation. Medical professionals will review your medical history and perform a physical exam that includes both laboratory tests and imaging.  This evaluation will help your healthcare team determine if a transplant is right for you and if there are any issues that might impact your eligibility to receive a kidney (smoking, obestity, etc.). If there are items that need to be addressed to help you become eligible, the healthcare team and your doctor can help you develop a plan to reach your goals and be reconsidered for eligibility.

Written by Martha Palmer, RD