Kidney Transplant Options
Our transplant specialists offer several avenues for you to receive a new kidney. Our ongoing research has expanded kidney transplant options in recent years.
It’s normal to have a lot of questions — we provide the answers you need and guide you to the kidney transplant option that is right for you.
We offer multiple avenues to find a suitable kidney for our patients. Learn more about each type and what to expect:
A deceased donor kidney transplant (DDKT) is a procedure where you are given a healthy kidney from someone who has just passed away. This is the most common type of kidney transplant.
If you have advanced kidney disease or kidney failure, a DDKT may help you live a longer, healthier life that is free of dialysis. Deceased donor kidney transplants last an average of 10 to 12 years. Our transplant specialists help you decide if a DDKT is right for you.
Patients at other centers may wait as long as seven years for a deceased kidney, but our average wait time is between three and four years. Patients receive a wait time based on their dialysis start date or the date they were added to the transplant waiting list.
During a living kidney donor transplant, you receive a kidney from a live person called a living kidney donor. This donor could be a friend, a loved one or even a stranger. At our transplant center, 25% to 30% of the kidney transplants we perform are from living donors.
Living donor transplant offers multiple benefits, including:
- Shorter wait time: Most people wait at least three years for a deceased kidney to become available. Patients who receive a living donor kidney can bypass the waiting list, shortening the transplant process considerably.
- Better organ function: Compared with deceased donor transplants, living kidney donor transplants work better and last longer — almost twice as long on average.
- Easier recovery: On average, living donor transplants result in shorter hospital stays with fewer complications.
- A planned transplant date: Living donors can choose the date for the transplant surgery. The timing of a deceased donor transplant is unpredictable.
If a recipient comes to us with a living donor who is a suitable match, the recipient can often have transplant surgery in as quickly as 12 weeks. If you have a preferred donor who is not a match for you, we can help through these innovative methods:
- Paired-donor kidney transplant: Kidney exchange programs pair living kidney donors with patients in the St. Louis region through our internal exchange program and from across the country through our national exchange programs. These programs increase your chances (and potentially decrease your wait) for a transplant.
- Incompatible-donor kidney transplant: We’ve developed specific protocols that allow us to transplant a donated kidney into a patient who is not an ideal match for the donor’s blood or tissue type — with the same successful outcomes as other transplant methods.
At the Transplant Center, we are experienced in multi-organ transplantation. If you have type 1 diabetes and kidney failure, you can receive a new kidney and pancreas during the same surgery. Both organs come from deceased donors.
A kidney-pancreas transplant allows us to treat both kidney failure and type 1 diabetes. With improvements in medications and surgical techniques, people who receive this type of transplant have a five-year survival rate of about 85%.
A kidney-pancreas transplant reduces long-term health risks associated with diabetes. These risks include:
Retinopathy (a disease of your retinas that can cause vision loss)
Also, a kidney-pancreas transplant can give you better outcomes than a kidney transplant alone. These improved outcomes are because the new pancreas normalizes your blood sugar, preventing hypoglycemia and reducing potential damage to your kidney because of diabetes.
Wait time for a kidney-pancreas transplant is typically less than six months — shorter than waiting for a kidney or a pancreas alone. Your transplant specialist will talk to you about what to expect.