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What are the advantages of a living donor kidney transplant?

A living donor kidney transplant has many advantages over a deceased donor kidney transplant. Currently, kidneys from living donors have a better long-term survival rate than kidneys from deceased donors, and the waiting time for a deceased donor kidney is approximately five years.

A living donor kidney transplant is scheduled and planned for, so the surgery takes place at a convenient time for everyone concerned. The waiting time for the recipient is minimal. In addition, the living donor and recipient operations take place at the same time, which means that the kidney is outside of the body for a short period of time, thus it is still warm when placed into the recipient’s body. Kidneys from living donors usually start working immediately in the operating room whereas cold kidneys, or kidneys that have been out of the body for a longer period of time, may take several days to fully function.

Living donor kidney transplants are the ideal choice for various reasons:

  • higher success rates
  • better matching (blood relatives only)
  • more convenient scheduling of surgery
  • less medications needed 

Some of the important benefits of living donations are:

  • Shortens or removes the waiting time for a transplant.
  • Allows the procedure to be scheduled at a time convenient for both recipient and donor.
  • Shortens the time the kidney is outside the body, increasing the quality of the organ.
  • Allows for preemptive transplant, or transplant before dialysis. Preemptive transplant gives the best chance for success and survival of both the kidney and the recipient.
  • The survival and success rates decrease the longer a recipient stays on dialysis.

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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.