It’s a waiting list 100,000 names long. Doctors say patients are desperate for a kidney transplant.
Dr. Lynsey Biondi, a kidney transplant surgeon with Lee Health, says it can be years before a patient ever makes it to surgery. “It’s a long process. They have to come and get a lot of tests done to make sure they are safe, make sure they’re going to get through the surgery, and then do well afterwards too.”
If a patient receives a kidney transplant, it’s not really out with the old and in with the new. “We leave the old kidneys in in almost all patients unless there’s a problem. So there’s a third kidney,” said Dr. Biondi.
To take the bad kidney out, doctors say it’s a big surgery that’s usually unnecessary. “Your normal kidneys live way up in your back, up by your rib cage, so to take those out, you’re operating on big blood vessels, you’re making a big incision. So if there’s no cancer or no problem with them it actually makes you sicker to take them out,” said Dr. Biondi.
The third kidney isn’t even placed in the normal spot of a kidney; instead it’s placed in the pelvis making it easier to get to surgically. “It takes about three or four hours in the operating room and then they’re in the hospital for about a week depending on what the kidney quality was,” said Dr. Biondi.
The kidney’s quality is also important in determining how long it will last. “The biggest factor is whether it’s a living or deceased donor kidney. Living donor kidneys come out of a healthy organ donor that decides to give you a kidney, so they work better and they last longer, almost twice as long,” said Dr. Biondi.
The patient’s health and lifestyle also decide just how long the new kidney functions. “It does depend on the patient, on what their disease was, some diseases come back in the kidney, so a very bad diabetic who doesn’t take care of diabetes after a kidney transplant it may come back and destroy that kidney,” said Dr. Biondi.
Making it important for patients to have a healthy diet and active lifestyle after a kidney transplant.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.