Kidney transplant

If you require a kidney transplant, the Renal and Transplant Centre at Hammersmith Hospital, the largest of its kind in Europe, offers safe and innovative care and unrivalled expertise.

The centre performs on average 70 live kidney transplants a year to both NHS and private patients.

Through Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s academic partnership with Imperial College London, it is involved in the latest transplantation research from new drug treatments to advanced surgical techniques.

Live donor kidney transplants

Live donors are the only kind of kidney transplants offered by Imperial Private Healthcare. This is where a kidney is donated by a living person (usually, but not always, a relative or a friend).

This surgery is suitable for any patient, but whenever possible, we will aim to transplant the organ before dialysis is required, as this offers a better long-term outcome.

This technique was introduced to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in 2000, at a time when few hospitals offered the procedure and we remain at the forefront of live donor transplants.

Our expert surgeons have developed the procedure so that we can also offer it to higher-risk patients and those with complex medical conditions or significant health problems – and still with excellent outcomes. We carry out the procedure using minimally invasive techniques, which minimises post-operative pain and eases recovery.

Why chose live donor kidney donation?

As the organ comes from a healthy individual, live donors are usually a very good match and the kidneys are in much better physical condition than from a deceased donor.

The kidney may come from one of your family members (blood-related or non-blood-related), a friend, or sometimes an altruistic donor – a volunteer from the general public.

If the kidney donated to you is incompatible or mismatched by blood type or tissue, it may be possible for it to be matched with another donor and recipient pair and the kidneys exchanged, so we may still be able to proceed with the surgery. Your consultant will explain this option further with you if it is appropriate.

Our team are world leaders in their field, and regularly share their knowledge and surgical techniques with other surgeons both nationally and internationally.

For more information on our renal consultants, visit our consultant directory.

Our kidney transplant team

Our expert team includes transplant surgeons, physicians, interventional radiologists, pathologists and live donor coordinators.

Working as a multidisciplinary team, they take an holistic approach to patient care so that your treatment will be tailored appropriately for your condition and medical history. The team will ensure that their recommendations are carefully explained to you, and you will be central to any decision making about your treatment.

Our transplant consultants are passionate about living donor transplantation as the best way to treat renal failure. They have the skills and experience to be able to perform surgery on even the most high-risk patients, including older patients, patients who are overweight or those with other complex health problems such as diabetes, heart conditions or autoimmune disease.

For the kidney donor

As the kidney donor, you are likely to be generally healthy, which means we can carry out minimally invasive mini-open surgery. This typically allows you to go home after two or three days. This widely used technique is safe and unobtrusive, enabling the kidney to be removed through a small side incision and leaving a scar that is hardly visible a few weeks later.

After surgery, we will ensure you are well looked after. We will provide regular health check-ups (including urine, blood pressure and kidney function) for the rest of your life – twice shortly after surgery, then every six months and eventually once a year. As an added benefit, this means that there will also be opportunities for us to pick-up health issues unrelated to the surgery, should any occur.

You are unlikely to experience any health problems or changes to your lifestyle as a result of your surgery, but your transplant team can talk you through the risks involved, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

For the kidney recipient

If you are receiving a kidney, we will ensure you are in the best possible condition for your kidney transplant and the post-operative period:

  • We will advise you on a special diet, which should be maintained right up to the operation.
  • Before surgery, we will carry out lab and imaging tests to check your heart and blood lines, particularly in the legs and abdomen, are in good shape.
  • If you are already on dialysis, you will continue to have this as normal.
  • If you are not on dialysis, you can arrive at the hospital on the morning of the operation, with all preparatory tests done beforehand.

The surgery is minimally invasive and considered to be very safe. We will make the smallest possible incision – about 10cm, usually in the lower part of the abdomen. The surgery itself takes just a couple of hours.

After the operation it is likely that you will stay in hospital for about a week. A day or so later you will be able to resume a normal diet.

Once your surgery is complete we will continue to monitor your progress to check that you heal properly and remain fit and healthy:

  • Once at home, you should avoid excess activity, such as exercising or gardening, for 4–6 weeks to allow the wound to heal properly. After this, you should be able to quickly return to your normal daily lifestyle.
  • You will attend follow-up appointments with your consultant – initially twice a week, then weekly, fortnightly and gradually less frequently.
  • You will be provided with daily medication which you will need to take indefinitely.

We also offer patients a 24/7 contact line, so our team is always available if you have any issues or concerns. We would encourage you to get in touch to report any problems as soon as possible. Your clinical team will advise you of the details during your consultations.

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