Risks of Transplant

Anytime a surgical procedure is performed, there is a possibility of complications. There may be an increased risk of these complications after a kidney transplant:

  • Pain
  • Infection, fever
  • Incisional hernia
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Problems urinating
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Blood clots or bleeding
  • Rejection of the new kidney
  • Delayed or no function of the new kidney
  • Psychological effects
  • Possible death

Other possible complications post-transplant include:

  • Need for short-term dialysis. (Approximately 10% of patients from living donors and 20% of patients from deceased donors)
  • No function in the transplanted kidney. (Rare)

There are also side effects of anti-rejection medications you will be required to take post-surgery. Because anti-rejection medications lower the body's immune system, there are many possible side effects.

Fortunately, these side effects are usually manageable for most patients. Changing the dose or type of medications can often lessen any side effects that do occur.

Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Swelling
  • Cataracts
  • Acne
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Changes in bones and joints
  • Mood disturbances, such as irritability and agitation
  • Sensitivity to the sun, including skin cancers
  • Upset stomach, including stomach ulcers

There may be additional possible side effects from medicines that your transplant team will review with you prior to prescribing the medications.