Your Kidney Transplant

Your Guide to Kidney Transplant:
Your Kidney Transplant | Follow-Up Visits After Kidney Transplant Surgery | Resuming Life After Kidney Transplantation | Organ Rejection after Kidney Transplant | Nutrition After Kidney Transplant | Immunosuppressant Medications | Infection After Kidney Transplant

At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, you will be cared for by a multidisciplinary team including surgeons, nephrologists, immunologists, endocrinologists, nurse coordinators, dietitians, psychiatrists, social workers, and financial counselors.

Once you step through our doors, you will be led through a process designed to provide the best treatment for your own health needs.

Video Guide for Patients »
Learn about the benefits of transplant and living donors »


On your first visit, our kidney transplant team will assess your condition and perform necessary tests, such as blood work with tissue typing and testing for compatibility with living donors.

Your physician and dialysis unit should supply all relevant medical information to us prior to your initial evaluation.

At this time, you'll meet with your nurse coordinator, surgeon, nephrologist, social worker, and financial counselor. This team will explain your options and tell you whether kidney transplantation is the best option for you.

A new kidney may be donated by a relative, or by a compatible but unrelated living donor. The organ may also come from a deceased donor. All potential living donors are evaluated by a separate team of nephrologists and surgeons. If transplantation isn't right for you, alternative therapies will be recommended.

If you are a candidate for a deceased donor organ, we will register you with the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) waiting list. UNOS, which manages the nation's waiting list, matching donors to recipients 24 hours a day, gives patients a fair chance at receiving an organ, regardless of their gender, race, religion, lifestyle or financial status.

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For an initial appointment, please complete the transplant evaluation questionnaire »

Preparing for your operation

Once you are on the UNOS waiting list, it is important that you keep your transplant coordinator informed of any changes in your health.

If you are receiving a kidney from a living donor, you may have a shorter wait, and the transplant can be scheduled at the convenience of all parties.

The Kidney Transplant Program doesn't require that you relocate, but time is of the essence, and you must be able to reach our hospital in northern Manhattan quickly after receiving notice that an organ is available. Your transplant coordinator will help you plan transportation well in advance of this call.

Your transplant operation

During the transplant, a new kidney is implanted through an incision in your lower abdomen. It is standard practice to leave your own kidneys in place. Following a brief stay in our recovery suite, you will recuperate in your room, under the watchful care of our transplant team and our nursing staff. We will guide you and your family in the care of your new kidney, and explain the immunosuppressant and other medications that will be required after surgery.

After transplant

Our follow-up team will help you to maintain your health and renew your lease on life. We will work closely with your local physician who will play an active role in your recovery. In the first few months, you'll return to Columbia for frequent check-ups. We'll review the medications you must take to prevent rejection of your new kidney, monitor the function of your new transplant, address any symptoms you may have, and answer any questions that may arise. After several months, less frequent visits will be required.

After Kidney Transplantation: Caring for a Healthy Organ

Within one to two months after receiving a new kidney, most patients recover fully, return to work, and resume a normal, active life. At first, you will see your doctor quite often for follow-up visits, and you will be monitored carefully to make sure your new kidney is functioning properly. You will continue to work closely with your transplant surgeon and nephrologist, your coordinator, and members of the social services team. Your local physician will remain a key member of the care-giving team, playing an active role in your recovery.

At follow-up visits, you will participate in a regular schedule of diagnostic and medical care, including physical examinations, complete blood, urine, and X-ray analysis, review of medications, dental care with antibiotic prophylaxis, and annual eye exams and, for women, gynecologic care. This follow-up care is carefully coordinated among your surgeon, nephrologist, and referring physician to ensure it is optimally effective and convenient for you.

While we encourage your primary physician to participate in your care and to continue to monitor your health after your transplant, we recommend that, for the first three months after your transplant, you receive primary care at our center. The transplant program must be notified of any change in your kidney function (increased creatinine level) or any medication changes. You should also continue to see any specialists who have been involved in your healthcare, such as your cardiologist, gynecologist, or, in case of younger patients, pediatrician.

Remember to inform the transplant office of any changes in contact information for your primary care doctor or specialists.

Your Guide to Kidney Transplant:
Your Kidney Transplant | Follow-Up Visits After Kidney Transplant Surgery | Resuming Life After Kidney Transplantation | Organ Rejection after Kidney Transplant | Nutrition After Kidney Transplant | Immunosuppressant Medications | Infection After Kidney Transplant

Transplantation is a life-altering procedure. We’re here to be your partners every step of the way. Call us at (212) 305-6469 to get started today, or sign up with one of our online forms: 
I Need A Transplant » | I Want to Donate My Kidney »