How long does a kidney transplant last?

Last Modified: July 30, 2021  |   Created on: July 30, 2021

“The cost of kdiney transplant starts from  USD 13000. The kidney transplant hospitals in India promise unparalleled health treatments at low-cost packages.


What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a new kidney from a donor (living or deceased) is transplanted into a recipient’s body. Kidneys play many important roles, but their main function is to filter waste products from the blood and removing them by producing urine which will be passed out of the body.

Medical condition such as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease is a condition in which the kidneys lose their ability to filter out the waste products. The build-up of the waste or toxic substances in the body can be potentially life-threatening. This is the most common reason for needing a kidney transplant.

Kidney failure patients are first recommended dialysis, a blood-filtering procedure that replicates the functions of the kidney. However, dialysis is time-consuming and can be inconvenient in the long term. The long-term and life-saving option kidney transplant can be a choice of treatment for kidney failure for some patients.

The surgeon places a healthy kidney from a donor, after or without removing the malfunctioning kidney during an operation. The donor can be a living person who is willing to donate a kidney (as a person can survive with only one functional kidney) or a deceased person (brain dead individual who is an organ donor).

A kidney transplant has several advantages over dialysis, including eliminating the dependency on regular visits to the clinic, improving the quality of life, increasing lifespan, and decreasing the various dietary restrictions that a person with kidney failure may have to follow.

The transplanted kidney generally lasts for about 15-20 years after the surgery. The recipient may, however, need medications throughout their life to prevent rejection of the new kidney.

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How much does a kidney transplant cost? 

Kidney transplant is a major surgery which can be very expensive in certain countries. The top medical destinations of the world, such as India, UAE, Thailand, Turkey offer affordable solutions for people who are willing to travel abroad for this procedure.

Different countries have different requirements and regulations regarding organ donation and transplantation procedures. Most countries allow donors who are third or fourth-degree relatives of the recipient, but it may not be possible in all countries. 

The kidney transplant cost in India starts from USD 13,000 and may vary depending on different hospitals based on several factors. The same procedure in Western countries, such as the UK and USA, may cost more than USD 60,000 and range as high as USD 340,000.

The kidney transplant cost in Turkey starts from 16,500 which is significantly lower than in many other countries. The affordability of the health packages allows international patients to save a considerable amount of money on the treatment without compromising on the quality of patient services. 

There are some general factors that influence the cost of procedures such as kidney transplants in a country. These mainly include:

  • Type of transplant surgery (living or deceased)
  • Location of hospital
  • Accreditation and facilities available at the hospital
  • Surgeon’s experience
  • Length of stay in the hospital and choice of room category
  • Whether dialysis is needed
  • Whether any other medical procedure or a special test is required

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How long does a kidney transplant take?

The kidney transplant operation takes about four to six hours. The doctor first removes a kidney from the donor’s body. The patient’s own kidneys are generally left in the body in the transplant surgery if they are not causing problems such as in the case of active infection.

The surgeon then places the donated kidney into the lower abdomen and connects it to the blood vessels that supply it, as well as the ureter that carries urine to the bladder. Putting the new kidney in your abdomen also makes it easier to take care of any problems that might come up. The surgery can be done with an open or laparoscopic approach.

Most surgeries, nowadays, are performed via the laparoscopic method, as it is a less invasive approach that involves smaller incisions than open surgery. It offers the advantages of faster recovery and less trauma to the tissues, which reduces the duration of hospitalization and the risk of complications.

How many kidney transplants can a person have?

Yes, it is possible to undergo second and multiple transplant options with possibilities of a successful kidney transplant until five. These procedures have been performed by renowned kidney specialists at the top hospitals in Delhi and Mumbai.

However, the basic challenge or concern regarding another kidney transplant following the primary one is about the success rate for these kidney transplants. The second kidney transplant has been known to have a similar success rate as the first one, but the success rate is reduced and eventually to very less after the fifth kidney transplant.

A second kidney transplant has been considered an established therapeutic option for patients who lost the previous graft through rejection or graft failure. Third or fourth kidney transplantation operations are also valid therapeutic options with reasonable short- and long-term patient and graft survivals.

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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.

How much does a kidney transplant cost with insurance?

This will depend on the medical insurance package the patient has. Some companies and packages cover the cost for donor surgery as well as transplantation, but others may only pay for the transplantation. Private insurance typically covers most of the cost of the transplant, and there are many plans that will cover the cost of medications.

Additionally, a person can use both private insurance and special packages in combination to cover more of their medical needs. It is important to talk with the insurance company and figure out what is and isn’t covered. A kidney transplant without insurance can be highly expensive for some people.

Many patients consider traveling to affordable medical travel destinations such as India and Turkey to manage their funds. To get in touch with experts and have precise information based on your case, contact us at or fill the inquiry form. Our team works round the clock to provide you with the best packages and complete guidance at every step of the process. 

Why is tissue typing necessary before a kidney transplant?

One of the first blood tests that are used to determine the tissue (HLA) type of the patient and the potential donor is to check their matching and compatibility of the tissue. Each person has a different antigen on their tissues, except for identical twins.

The better the candidates the better the HLA match, as they have more chances of successful transplant over a longer period of time. As the DNA is inherited or passed down from the parents (half from both mother and father), they would have at least a 50 percent chance of matching with the child. Siblings are usually the best matches as they can be 100 percent match.

Unrelated donors are less likely to match at all, but they can also be tested. The best match is considered for the recipient when they have 12 out of 12 antigen matches with the donor, called a zero mismatch. All 12 markers could match even with an unrelated deceased donor organ if the patient has a very common HLA type.

Another blood test is to measure the antibodies to HLA. This test is conducted for the patient only and has to be frequently repeated, sometimes monthly, but it will depend upon the transplant program policy. HLA antibodies can harm the transplanted kidney. They may even increase or decrease over time, and therefore, must be measured at all stages – waiting for a transplant, immediately before transplant surgery, and sometimes after the transplantation.

If HLA antibodies are found in the patient’s blood, they are considered HLA “sensitized”. It is best to search for a donor with HLA types that avoid the HLA antibodies in the patient’s blood. Additionally, HLA antibody levels can change following events such as blood transfusions, miscarriages, minor surgeries, including dental work or fistula repair. Conditions such as severe infections can also affect, and the patient should inform the doctor and nurse coordinator.

How long to recover from a kidney transplant?

Recovery after a kidney transplant includes a few days of hospital stay, during which the medical team ensures that the new kidney is functioning well and look out for the symptoms of rejection of the transplanted kidney. Hospital stay for a kidney transplant recipient is usually 5-7 days if there are no complications.

However, the length of stay will depend on the medical condition and needs. The patients may stay for a short while in intensive care before being moved to the specialized transplant care unit. The new kidney usually begins working immediately, but sometimes, it may take a few weeks before it starts to function properly.

The kidneys donated by family members are known to start working faster than those donated by unrelated or deceased donors. Patients are given painkillers to manage the pain around the incision site and heal properly.

They also need to take immunosuppressant medicines to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney. The doctor will also give instructions for aftercare and medication routine, and these need to be followed strictly during the recovery.

The doctor will advise the level of physical activity that should be undertaken while recovering. A specialized transplant care team will coordinate with the patient and their family to ensure they heal properly after the hospital stay. Most patients are able to get out of bed the day after surgery. 

Before going home, the team will give information about the schedule for medication, lab tests and follow-up visits. For the transplant to be successful, it is important to have regular checkups, especially during the first year after the transplant. They may also need to have regular blood tests, mostly several times a week. Gradually, there are fewer checkups to make sure that the new kidney is working well and ensure the correct dosage of anti-rejection medication in the body.

The long term success of a kidney transplant depends on several factors, including:

  • Following the instructions given by the transplant team and visit the specialist on scheduled appointments
  • Take the prescribed dosage of anti-rejection medications daily at the right times, as directed by the transplant team, to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney.
  • Follow the recommended schedule for blood tests and clinic visits to make sure that the kidney is working properly.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet, exercise, and weight loss, if needed

What is the average life expectancy after a kidney transplant?

The life expectancy after kidney transplantation may depend on a number of factors, including the donor kidney – a living or deceased donor, how well the kidney is matched for blood group and tissue type, and the age and overall health of the patient receiving the donor’s kidney.

On average, a kidney from a living donor lasts is known to last about 15 to 20 years. Some may last even longer if proper care is taken by the recipient. Patients in the age group of 40 or less may have a life expectancy of around 22 years after a kidney transplant.

However, with increasing age, such as with people in the age group of 50, the life expectancy goes down to 16 years, and those in their 60s may have a life expectancy of 11.5 years after a successful kidney transplant. If a kidney transplant fails, the patient is usually put back on the waiting list for another transplant. They may also need dialysis in the meantime.

How long does kidney transplant surgery take for the donor?

Donor nephrectomy is a procedure in which a kidney from a donor is removed. It usually lasts two to three hours. The surgery is performed with general anesthesia, which means the person will be asleep during the procedure. The surgical team will monitor the heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen level of the donor throughout the procedure.

It is usually performed with a minimally invasive approach. Laparoscopic nephrectomy to remove a living donor’s kidney for a kidney transplant is offered by most hospitals. The laparoscopic nephrectomy approach is done with smaller incisions and special instruments, which results in less scarring, less post-operative pain and a shorter recovery time than is traditional open surgery to remove a kidney (open nephrectomy).

During a laparoscopic nephrectomy, the surgeon makes two or three small incisions close to the navel. The fiber-optic surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions to perform the operation. This includes a small knife, clamps and a tube with a special camera called a laparoscope, which allows the surgeon to view the internal organs and guide them through the procedure. The doctor makes a slightly larger incision below the belly button to remove the donor’s kidney.

Open nephrectomy is a more invasive procedure, as it involves a 5- to 7-inch (13- to 18-centimeter) incision on the side of the chest and upper abdomen. A surgical instrument called a retractor is often used to spread the ribs to access the donor’s kidney during the operation.

What are the signs and symptoms of kidney transplant rejection?

Rejection is one of the major concerns after an organ transplantation surgery. The body’s defense system, immune system, protects it from all foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. A new organ, which is introduced into your body during transplantation, triggers the immune system which may recognize it as a “foreign invader”.

This causes an immune response as the body’s immune cells attack the cells of the new organ. This is known as rejection. It can damage the new organ, especially if it is not detected early.

Some signs of kidney transplant rejection include:

  • Fever – more than 100° F or 38° C, with or without chills
  • Tenderness or pain over the transplanted area
  • Considerable swelling of hands, eyelids or legs
  • Significantly decreased or no urine output
  • Weight gain (1-2kgs or 2-4lbs) in 24 hours
  • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, body aches, tiredness

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