Transplants | UC Davis Health


Learn about organ transplantation, in which we give you a new organ to replace your sick or damaged one. Our compassionate experts guide you through each step of the process.

Medically reviewed on Nov. 07, 2023.

Surgeons performing surgery on a transplant patient

Innovative Care for Organ Transplants

The UC Davis Transplant Center provides heart, kidney and liver transplants. We offer cutting-edge treatments for transplant donors and recipients.

Our transplant team includes surgeons, nephrologists (kidney specialists), hepatologists (liver specialists), cardiologists (heart specialists), gastroenterologists (digestive system specialists), and nurses. Our team also includes anesthesiologists, advanced practitioners, transplant coordinators, financial coordinators, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and transplant administrators. Together, they ensure you receive the highest level of care.

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Our Difference

Leaders in Transplant Innovation

The UC Davis Transplant Center performed the first fully robotic donor nephrectomy (kidney removal from a living donor) in the Sacramento region. The center was also one of the first to offer a minimally invasive donor nephrectomy. Our innovations lead to better patient outcomes.

Team-Based Care

Donors and recipients receive expert care from a team of highly trained transplant specialists. We monitor every aspect of your care, from the first evaluation to outpatient follow-up.

Transplantation Expertise

We have been at the forefront of transplantation surgery and care for three decades. Our kidney transplant program is one of the busiest in the nation.


What Is Transplantation?

Transplantation involves removing a damaged organ from your body and replacing it with a healthy one. Your new organ comes from a donor. The donor may be a living relative, a living non-relative, or a non-living person.

The organ transplant process includes:

1. Evaluation

The first step in the process is an evaluation. Your transplant team will give you a full medical exam and discuss your medical history. They will determine whether you can benefit from transplant surgery.

2. HLA Typing

HLA typing is a test that identifies antigens (proteins) in your blood. Antigens tell your body to attack foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. They can also tell your body to attack (reject) a new organ. HLA typing helps us match you to a donated organ that your body is less likely to reject.

3. Transplant Waiting List

After you qualify for transplant surgery, your transplant team will add you to a local and national waiting list. Waiting periods can vary, but we will be here to support your health the whole time. When you match with a compatible donor organ, your transplant team will schedule your surgery.

4. Surgery and Hospital Stay

Your exact procedure and hospital stay will depend on the type of transplant you have. You will learn about the medications you need to prevent your body from rejecting your new organ. You will also learn how to watch for symptoms of rejection.

5. Follow-Up Care

Your transplant team will monitor your recovery. You will see your transplant specialist for weekly follow-up appointments. You will need lab tests to check for organ rejection and infection. If any problems come up, our transplant team will be ready to handle them.



When an organ stops working, you may need transplant surgery to improve your quality of life. There are different reasons why organs fail.

Top causes include:

Birth Anomalies

You may be born with a condition that prevents your organ from developing normally. This can cause organ failure at birth or later in life.


Infections or trauma can cause severe injury to an organ. Sometimes, organs don’t recover from the injury and begin to fail.

Medical Condition

Conditions like coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes and polycystic kidney disease (PKD) are known to cause organ damage and failure.

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A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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