With any surgery, there are possible complications. The following is a list of the risks associated with kidney transplant surgery. If you have additional questions or concerns, please discuss them with a member of the transplant team.

  • Risk of rejection of the transplanted organ
  • Increased risk of infection due to the immunosuppressant medications
  • Any of the side effects of the immunosuppressant medications as previously discussed.
  • Very small risk for acquiring AIDS, Hepatitis B, other viruses, or cancer from the donor organ - Organ donors are screened very carefully for these diseases, however on rare occasion, they are undetectable and may be passed to the recipient.
  • Potential for a blood transfusion due to blood loss in the operating room and related risk for the transmission of infectious diseases from a blood donor. Blood donors are screened very carefully, but there may be a rare case when a disease may be undetectable and may be passed to the recipient.

It is usually not possible for transplant candidates to donate their own blood ahead of time, because we never know  when the transplant will occur for patients on the wait list. Also, anemia is a common problem with kidney disease which prevents donation.

Note: If you do not accept blood products due to your religion, your blood count (hematocrit) must be >38 at the time of transplant admission. Our surgeons feel that this requirement protects your safety and well-being.

  • Potential for complications due to any general anesthesia - These may include:
  1. Chipped teeth or a sore throat from the insertion of the breathing tube
  2. Allergic reaction to medications used to put you to sleep
  3. Risk of infection from the insertion of I.V. lines
  4. Risk of a pneumothorax (collapse of the lung) from the insertion of a large I.V. line (used for giving fluids)
  5. The possibility of requiring mechanical ventilation (a breathing machine or respirator) after surgery
  6. Risk of death due to problems with the heart or lungs