You have probably already thought about some good things about getting a new kidney: the fact that you will have more free time if you are not on dialysis; the hope that you can return to work if you are not able to work now; the probability that you will feel better and have more energy; the idea that you will no longer have to restrict your fluid intake, and you may be able to eat some foods not now permitted. All is very appealing!
But certainly, there are risks. The first is that of surgery, which involves the use of general anesthesia (being put to sleep).Infection, following the surgery, is another risk. So is having to return to the operating room if there is a complication. Although precautions are taken to minimize these risks, they are always a possibility with any major surgery. Another risk involves the medicines that are taken after transplant. Their purpose is to make your immune system less active so your body will not reject the kidney. Your immune system’s job is to fight off disease and infection. When its “fighting ability” is reduced by the medicines, diseases and infection can occur more readily. Sometimes, though rarely, death can result.
Some patients have had many problems because of illness in addition to kidney failure. Some patient patients are older, some are not so old, but having other disease may pose greater risk for transplantation. Part of the evaluation involves weighing risks and benefits and determining whether the benefit outweighs the risk.