Kidney Transplant in India

Last Modified: June 10, 2020  |   Created on: August 7, 2018
Kidney, Transplants, Urology

Kidney Transplant Cost in India

Kidney Transplant Price No. of Travelers Days in Hospital Total Days in India
USD 14,000 2 7 7

The cost of kidney transplant in India is one of the major reasons why patients decide to travel thousands of miles to get treated. the country boasts its high quality of medical treatment that can be available at an extremely affordable cost.

The cost of kidney transplant in India is approximately 14000 USD. This cost is inclusive of pre- transplant investigations, surgery and post-transplant follow up.

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Cost of Kidney Transplant in different countries
India Starting from $14,000
United States Starting from $65,000
United Kingdom Starting from $76,000
Canada Starting from $50,000

Factors affecting the cost of Kidney Transplant in India

Kidney Transplant cost in India is dependent on several factors. Some of the factors that dictate the cost of kidney transplant includes the following:

  • Hospital’s profile
  • Room category
  • Additional tests required
  • Complications during surgery
  • Surgeon’s fees
  • ICU charges
  • Transplant unit charges

Even when all these miscellaneous costs are taken into account, the overall kidney transplant cost in India remains to be just a fraction of other countries.

Overview of Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney from a donor is placed into the patient whose kidneys are unable to function. 

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs found on either side of the spine. The main function of the kidney in our body is to filter the blood and remove toxic substances, waste products and fluids which are discarded as urine. 

When a person’s kidneys lose their ability to filter the blood, it leads to accumulation of toxic waste inside the body. This condition is known as End-stage renal disease (ERSD) or kidney failure. Kidney failure is an irreversible medical condition and patients can opt for either of the two treatment options at this stage – dialysis or kidney transplant.

Dialysis involves using a machine to mechanically filter the waste from the bloodstream when the kidneys stop functioning. It is a regular procedure and a person requires frequent dialysis sessions to remove the toxic substances from the blood. Dialysis takes time and is also a cumbersome process that takes a lot of time.

Kidney transplant can be a life-changing treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease. It can free the person from frequent visits to the dialysis centre and dependency on the dialysis machine to filter blood. It not only extends the life of the patient but also allows them to lead a normal active lifestyle.

Kidney Transplant in India

Kidney transplant in India is a popular procedure for which each year a number of end-stage renal disease patients travel from around the world. The kidney transplant has gained its popularity in India because of a number of reasons, including low cost of medical treatment and quick availability of quality medical services.

In addition the best hospitals in India house some of the top medical experts in the country. These medical experts are trained and educated from abroad and have the expertise in handling all types of patients and the complications associated with their condition. 

Kidney Transplant is conducted at a nominal cost at all major multi-speciality hospitals in India. It is an important procedure since kidneys play a vital role in the human body and help with the elimination of waste and toxic materials from the body.

If the kidneys stop functioning well, the toxicity produced by the waste material in the body starts to increase at an alarming rate. Kidneys also play in the production of urine and in the case of patients suffering from a kidney disease, there is either insufficient production of urine or inappropriate or obstructed flow of urine.

Kidney transplant in India is performed using both the traditional and modern techniques. The traditional technique involves the replacement of the diseased kidney with a healthy one using open surgery, while the modern technique enables the use of minimal invasion for the replacement of diseased kidneys. The latter involves minimal recovery time, quick healing and minimal post-operative care.

The hospitals in India have special Centers of Nephrology and Urology that run the renal transplant procedures and programs. These are specially-designed intensive and critical care units for kidney patients for customised care and regular monitoring.

There are several factors that dictate the decision to undergo the kidney transplant in India. Patients from abroad find kidney transplant cost in India affordable as compared to their own country, plus the high quality of medical treatment is an added advantage for them.

How can Lyfboat assist you getting Kidney Transplant in India?

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Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

Who requires kidney transplant?

Patients suffering from kidney failure or end-stage kidney disease are the ones who are recommended to undergo kidney transplant. In such patients, the kidneys have lost about 90% of their functions and harmful by-products such as nitrogen and urea start to accumulate in the blood. Kidney failure can be caused by a number of reasons, including: 

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes 
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis: The medical condition involving inflammation and eventual scarring of the glomeruli – the tiny filters within the kidneys 
  • Polycystic kidney disease: A genetic disorder in which clusters of cysts develop in the kidneys. It causes the kidneys to enlarge and lose their ability to filter over time.
  • Chronic kidney infections

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

The excess accumulation of toxic products in the body of the patients suffering from kidney disease start to produce specific symptoms.
Some of the common kidney failure symptoms include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Reduced appetite
  • Swelling in arms and legs
  • Pale skin
  • Fluid collection in lungs causing shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fractures and bone pain
  • Confusion
  • Urinary problems

Diagnosis for Kidney Transplant in India

Before kidney transplant, a number of tests are conducted on both the patient and the live donor to check for compatibility. In addition, the patient is also made to undergo several other tests to assess the overall health status.

A thorough evaluation made at this time is used to determine the best treatment option and plan. Some of the tests conducted as a part of the evaluation include the following:

  • Prostate-specific antigen test in men
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Blood tests
  • Hepatitis screening test
  • Tissue typing

Types of Kidney Transplant in India

Kidney transplant can be mainly of two types depending on the source of donated kidney:

Deceased-donor Kidney transplant:

In a deceased-donor kidney transplant, the kidney is sourced from a person who has recently died. This requires the consent of the family or from a donor card. The kidney is then placed in a recipient whose kidneys no longer function properly. The patients in need of kidney transplantation are put on a waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor.

Living-donor kidney transplant

A living-donor kidney transplant involves the removal of a kidney from a living person. The kidney is then placed into a recipient whose kidneys have failed to function properly. The fact that only one donated kidney can be used to replace two failed kidneys of the patient makes living-donor kidney transplant an alternative to deceased-donor kidney transplant.

Potential donors are screened to check their blood type and tissue type matching, before they can donate the kidney.

Another type of transplant is known as Pre-emptive transplant or an ‘early’ transplant. This is the type of kidney transplant that takes place before the patient’s kidney function deteriorates to the stage of needing dialysis to filter the blood for toxic substances. This is done using a kidney from a living donor. If the patient is approved for pre-emptive transplant and a matched living donor is available, the transplant surgery can be scheduled as per the convenience of the recipient and donor.

Which tests are used for determining a matching kidney donor?

If a person wants to donate his/her kidney, a series of tests will be conducted to determine their suitability. During the medical evaluation for a transplant, the potential donor will have blood tests to determine the blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and HLA tissue typing (human leukocyte antigen). 

Blood type compatibility

If the blood type is compatible, it decreases the chances of rejection of the donated kidney. 

Donors with O blood type can donate their kidney to the patients with blood types – O, A, B or AB. 

A donor with blood group A can donate to a patient with A or AB blood group, while donor having blood group B can donate to B or AB blood group. Patients with AB blood type are limited to kidney transplants from donors with the same blood type.

Tissue typing (HLA)

HLA is a group of antigens that are present on the surface of white blood cells. These antigens are involved in the body’s immune response. HLA type match between the donor and patient is important as it’s more likely that the patient’s body won’t reject the kidney. Each person has six of these antigens, three obtained from each biological parent. The more antigens of the patient match those of the donor, the better is the chance of a successful transplant.

These are simple blood tests that are performed in a laboratory. 

Typically, siblings and parents are good matches for a transplant, but a non-related person with matching HLA and blood compatibility are also suitable to donate. 

Another test is Cross-matching:

This matching test helps determine whether antibodies in the patient’s blood will react against specific antigens present in the donor’s blood. For this, a small sample of patient and donor blood is mixed in the lab for analysis. A negative crossmatch means there is compatibility and the patient’s body is less likely to reject the donor kidney. Negative crossmatch transplants are preferred. Positive crossmatch kidney transplants can also be done, but they require additional medical treatment and medicines to be taken before and after the transplant. These medications are given to reduce the risk of the patient’s antibodies reacting to the donor organ.

Kidney Transplant procedure in India

Kidney transplant surgery in India is performed with general anaesthesia, so the patient does not remain awake or conscious during the procedure. The surgical team constantly monitors the heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level of the patient throughout the operation.

In general, the kidney transplant surgery involves the following steps:

  • The surgeon makes an incision on the abdomen, typically the lower part of one side and places the new kidney from the donor into this side of the body. 

The patient’s own kidneys are left in their original place, unless they are causing some complications such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, pain or infection.

  • The surgeon then attaches the blood vessels of the new kidney to the blood vessels in the lower part of the patient’s abdomen.
  • The ureter of the new kidney, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder, is then connected to the patient’s bladder.

Kidney transplant in India can be performed in two different ways – open technique or laparoscopic technique. The same technique is used to remove a healthy kidney from a suitable donor.

Open Nephrectomy 

In this technique, a large incision is made in the abdominal area of the patient, starting from the lower rib to the midriff. Afterwards, the diseased kidneys are removed and replaced with the healthy ones, before closing the incision with the help of stitches.

This is a lengthy and a sensitive procedure that involves more risks. In addition, patients take more time to recover after open nephrectomy than laparoscopic procedure.

Laparoscopy Nephrectomy

In this technique, several small incisions are made and a special instrument called a laparoscope is inserted into the incision to locate the kidneys. Next, the tools attached to the same laparoscope are used to surgically remove the kidneys by first clamping off the surrounding tissues, blood vessels and the ureters. The removed kidneys are then replaced with healthy kidneys retrieved from a suitable donor.

Recovery After Kidney Transplant Surgery in India

Kidney transplantation is a major procedure that lasts for over three to five hours. After kidney transplantation, the patient is advised to take a lot of fluids to maintain an electrolyte balance. In addition, proper care is taken to manage pain and prevent the wound from contracting any type of infection.

The healthy kidney transplanted into the patient’s body starts to function as soon as it is placed, but the overall functioning may depend on the quality of the transplanted organ. Patients are typically discharged after a week of hospital stay and are given certain medications to manage pain and reduce any chances of organ rejection.

Recovery after kidney transplant depends on the tolerance of the patient and how much he or she is able to drink or eat after the procedure. Patients are advised to check their blood sugar levels multiple times a day and the blood pressure should be checked only after a month of the procedure.

What precautions should be taken after the kidney transplant surgery? 

The doctor will discuss the precautions and restrictions that transplant patients need to follow after discharge from the hospital. 

  • For the first few months after surgery, the immune system remains highly suppressed. A weakened immune system increases the risk for infectious diseases. So it is important to avoid infections by frequently washing hands, eating clean food, and having good hygiene in general. 
  • It is also suggested avoiding raw or undercooked food as it can also increase the risk of having infections (food-borne pathogens)
  • There are a few food items and other substances that are completely off limits for the patient after a kidney transplant. Certain foods, drinks and over-the-counter medicines can hurt the new kidney function and increase the risk for complications.
  • Avoiding grapefruit is also recommended when taking immunosuppressive drugs
  • Certain vitamins and herbal supplements can also interact with the transplant medications, and hence, must be avoided. 
  • Avoid strenuous activities such as weight lifting for at least 6-8 weeks after the transplant.

What are the risks and complications associated with kidney transplant surgery?

Kidney transplant is a major surgery that involves some possible risks and complications after the procedure. 

The risks associated with a kidney transplant mainly include surgical risks, rejection of the donor kidney by patient’s body and side effects of taking anti-rejection or immunosuppressant medications. 

Potential complications that can arise after kidney transplant surgery, include:

  • Infection 
  • Blood clots and excessive bleeding
  • Reaction to anaesthesia 
  • Leaking or blockage of the urinary tube (ureter) which links the kidney to the bladder
  • Failure or rejection of the donated kidney
  • Possibility of transmission of infection or cancer with the donated kidney (a thorough medical evaluation is done before kidney donation to prevent this)
  • Heart attack and stroke

What is the success rate of kidney transplant in India?

Kidney transplant success rate in India is excellent. The kidney transplant hospitals in India have superior technology and medical facilities for providing comprehensive care to transplant patients. The modular, high-tech Operation Theatres with string inflection control system and advanced patient monitoring system significantly reduces the risk of infection. 

The success rate is also affected by the type of transplant conducted. Living donor transplant has been shown to have better success rates than the cadaveric transplant. The living donor kidney transplant in India is the second largest program in numbers after the USA.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) about Kidney Transplant in India

Q. How long does the surgery take?

Kidney transplant surgery takes around three to four hours to complete. The patient remains under general anaesthesia during this time.

Q. What is the duration of hospital stay after a kidney transplant?

Patients usually stay for 1-2 weeks in the hospital after their kidney transplant surgery. The several days of hospital stay is required to ensure that the new kidney in the recipient is functioning properly and to keep a check on signs of complications or rejection.

Q. How long does a donor have to stay in the hospital?

The donor will have to stay in the hospital 2 to 4 days, depending on the type of type surgery (open or laparoscopic) performed. With laparoscopic nephrectomy the recovery is faster and duration of hospitalization shorter.

Q. What tests does a donor have to go through?

A potential donor has to undergo several tests to check for the compatibility and avoid risk of rejection by the recipient’s body post transplant. First the donor tested for blood type and once the match is found, further testing for tissue typing is done. This involves Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to compare and match the genetic markers of the patient and donor. The next test for donor matching is a ‘crossmatch’ in which the donor’s is checked for antibodies reaction against antigens in the donor’s blood. A negative crossmatch (no reaction) means that the new kidney will most likely not be rejected by the recipient’s body. In case of positive crossmatch, the risk of rejection is more, and the patient will need additional medical treatment pre and post-transplant.

Q. How long does an international patient have to stay in India after having a kidney transplant?

It is typically recommended to stay for more than 30-35 days after having kidney transplant in India. The time period may vary depending on the individual case and post-surgery complications. The doctor will check the recovery and healing of wounds in the follow-up visit before giving a go ahead for air travel.

Q. How long does an international patient have to stay in India after having a kidney transplant?

It is typically recommended to stay for more than 30-35 days after having kidney transplant in India. The time period may vary depending on the individual case and post-surgery complications. The doctor will check the recovery and healing of wounds in the follow-up visit before giving a go ahead for air travel.

Q. When does the new kidney start to function after the surgery?

The transplanted kidney in the patient may start working the same day following the surgery or take a few weeks to start functioning. This may vary depending on how good of a match the donated kidney is to the recipient’s body. Kidney transferred from a living donor is more likely to start working sooner in comparison to the kidney from an unrelated donor or deceased donor. This is due to the fact that a kidney from a relative is a better blood and tissue-type match to the recipient and the recipient’s body will accept the new transplant sooner.

Q. Will my failed kidney be removed during the surgery?

No. Generally, the damaged kidneys are left in place unless they are causing infections or high blood pressure or are cancerous. The new donor kidney is placed on one side of the lower abdomen, near the groin.

There are several multi-facility and super-specialty hospitals for kidney transplant in India. All types of cancers are treated through application of cutting-edge technology. The main goal is to focus on the specific needs of patients and design a treatment procedure suited for the particular patient.

List of some Indian kidney transplant hospitals include the following:

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