The kidneys are a pair of small, bean-shaped organs located towards the back of the torso, behind the lower ribs. Although people are born with a pair of kidneys, the body can still function efficiently with just one healthy kidney.
The functions of the kidneys include:
-filtering wastes from the blood
-balancing the body's fluid content
-regulating blood pressure and red blood cell production
The kidneys can become damaged and unable to function normally due to kidney disease, infections, uncontrollable high blood pressure or because of complications from diabetes mellitus.
If kidney failure develops, kidney transplantation may be recommended to replace the damaged kidney with a healthy, donated kidney. The donated kidney can come from a live donor or from a recently deceased donor. As with any organ transplant, the kidney recipient will require life-long treatment with medications that suppress the immune response in order to prevent the body's immune system from rejecting the transplanted kidney.
There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.