At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, you will be cared for by a multidisciplinary team including surgeons, nephrologists, immunologists, endocrinologists, nurse coordinators, dietitians, psychiatrists, social workers, and financial counselors.
Once you step through our doors, you will be led through a process designed to provide the best treatment for your own health needs.
On your first visit, our kidney transplant team will assess your condition and perform necessary tests, such as blood work with tissue typing and testing for compatibility with living donors.
Your physician and dialysis unit should supply all relevant medical information to us prior to your initial evaluation.
At this time, you'll meet with your nurse coordinator, surgeon, nephrologist, social worker, and financial counselor. This team will explain your options and tell you whether kidney transplantation is the best option for you.
A new kidney may be donated by a relative, or by a compatible but unrelated living donor. The organ may also come from a deceased donor. All potential living donors are evaluated by a separate team of nephrologists and surgeons. If transplantation isn't right for you, alternative therapies will be recommended.
If you are a candidate for a deceased donor organ, we will register you with the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) waiting list. UNOS, which manages the nation's waiting list, matching donors to recipients 24 hours a day, gives patients a fair chance at receiving an organ, regardless of their gender, race, religion, lifestyle or financial status.
Preparing for your operation
Once you are on the UNOS waiting list, it is important that you keep your transplant coordinator informed of any changes in your health.
If you are receiving a kidney from a living donor, you may have a shorter wait, and the transplant can be scheduled at the convenience of all parties.
The Kidney Transplant Program doesn't require that you relocate, but time is of the essence, and you must be able to reach our hospital in northern Manhattan quickly after receiving notice that an organ is available. Your transplant coordinator will help you plan transportation well in advance of this call.
Your transplant operation
During the transplant, a new kidney is implanted through an incision in your lower abdomen. It is standard practice to leave your own kidneys in place. Following a brief stay in our recovery suite, you will recuperate in your room, under the watchful care of our transplant team and our nursing staff. We will guide you and your family in the care of your new kidney, and explain the immunosuppressant and other medications that will be required after surgery.
Our follow-up team will help you to maintain your health and renew your lease on life. We will work closely with your local physician who will play an active role in your recovery. In the first few months, you'll return to Columbia for frequent check-ups. We'll review the medications you must take to prevent rejection of your new kidney, monitor the function of your new transplant, address any symptoms you may have, and answer any questions that may arise. After several months, less frequent visits will be required.