U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Kidney Disease Education Program Logo

Contact Us

Health Information Center

Kidney Transplant

Some people with kidney failure may be able to receive a kidney transplant. This involves having a healthy kidney from another person surgically placed into the body. The new, donated kidney does the work that the two failed kidneys used to do. The donated kidney can come from someone you don't know who has recently died (deceased donor), or from a living person—a relative, spouse, or friend. Due to the shortage of kidneys, patients on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney may wait many years.

A kidney transplant is a treatment for kidney failure— it is not a cure. You will still need to see your health care provider regularly. You also will need to take medications every day to make sure your immune system doesn't reject the new kidney.

A successful transplant takes a coordinated effort from your whole health care team. Your team includes, your nephrologist, transplant surgeon, transplant coordinator, pharmacist, dietitian, and social worker— as well as you and your family. Learn how you can prepare for a kidney transplant.

A kidney transplant isn't for everyone. You may have a condition that makes the transplant surgery dangerous or not likely to succeed.

Learn more about kidney transplants and organ donation.


Is a Kidney Transplant an Option?
Is a Kidney Transplant an Option? (:53)

A doctor discusses the benefits and limits of receiving a kidney transplant.

Additional Reading


Page last updated: March 1, 2012​​

Contact Us

Health Information Center