entire procedure will last about four hours but could take longer
if there are any complications. The kidney should be removed from
the donor and transplanted to the recipient in less than an hour,
to minimize the length of time that it is without a blood supply.
The recipient's existing kidneys are seldom removed and the new
kidney is placed in the lower abdomen next to the bladder. The
ureter from the donor kidney is attached directly to the bladder
and the new kidney is connected to the recipient's blood vessels.
Vein, artery and ureter attachments are all microsurgical procedures
that are performed using an operating microscope.
the recipient is under anesthesia, a stomach tube may be installed
to insure a way to provide nourishment if the patient will not
eat. This is a tube that protrudes from the patient's side and
will remain for some time after discharge from the hospital. The
recipient's fur is shaved for the surgery and the area is quite
extensive: abdomen, chest, sides, neck (for an IV catheter) and
usually several limbs for taking blood samples.
things can go wrong during any major surgical procedure but an
experienced transplant surgeon can deal with most contingencies
that may occur during this particular complex process. Since the
mid 1980s when the transplant program first began, the overall
success rate has been about 70%. In more recent years this has
risen significantly, to about 90%. Donor selection has improved,
candidate qualification is more rigid and surgical techniques
have been developed to overcome some of the common fatal problems
that were encountered with earlier transplant cases.