Does dialysis cure kidney failure?

Dialysis does not cure kidney failure, but in certain cases it may reverse this condition and restore normal kidney function. There are two types of kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure develops suddenly and is usually the result of another underlying disease. Dialysis can be used to treat acute kidney failure until normal kidney function is restored. In this case, the kidney failure is reversible.

Another type of kidney failure, chronic kidney failure, develops over a long period of time, even years. This type of kidney failure is usually advanced and permanent, and dialysis is recommended when only 10%-15% of kidney function remains. In this case, dialysis is most likely a long-term treatment and cannot reverse kidney failure.

Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Medicine

Dialysis does take on some of the job of a healthy kidney but cannot cure kidney disease.  If you have end stage renal failure you will need dialysis treatment for the rest of our life unless you receive a kidney transplant.


Dialysis cannot cure kidney failure, but in some cases of sudden or acute kidney failure, dialysis may only be needed for a short time until the kidneys get better. However, when chronic kidney disease progresses to kidney failure over time, your kidneys do not get better. In such cases, you will need dialysis for the rest of your life unless you are able to receive a kidney transplant.

Continue Learning about Dialysis

Does dialysis cause cramping?
Edtrina MossEdtrina Moss
Cramping can result from the process of dialysis as it relates to the rapid removal of fluid from th...
More Answers
Which type of dialysis should I get if I have diabetes?
American Diabetes AssociationAmerican Diabetes Association
Your doctor will help you decide whether hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is right for you. Diabe...
More Answers
What tests indicate whether I'm getting the right amount of dialysis?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
One of the measures your dialysis care team may use is called urea reduction ratio (URR). Another me...
More Answers
What can I do if I have muscle cramping when on dialysis?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
Muscle cramping can cause extreme discomfort to many people who are on dialysis. Since the cause of ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.