Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

"I had a fabulous experience—I would recommend the transplant team here to anyone." – Jane Brann, kidney recipient

What to expect

Your journey as a patient in the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center’s kidney transplant program begins with a detailed health evaluation. This includes careful assessment of your kidney function—a key factor in determining the degree to which kidney disease has progressed—as well as a focused assessment of overall health, including heart and liver function. Living donors will also undergo a thorough evaluation to ensure that surgery is a safe option.

About the wait list

There are more people waiting for a kidney transplant than there are available organs. All patients accepted by a transplant program are put on a national computer wait list kept by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to ensure that all patients in need of a transplant are given fair access to donor organs.

Rules have been made to determine how transplant candidates are ranked on the waiting list for each type of organ. These rules, called allocation policies, were developed by patients and transplant professionals to make sure every patient on the waiting list has a fair and equal chance at receiving the best organ, at the best time for a particular patient’s condition.

Some of these criteria are medical urgency, tissue typing, waiting time, height and weight of the candidate, and size of the donated organ. The matching system does not take into account gender, religion, celebrity or financial status.

Helping patients “Navigate the Wait”

Several times a year, the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center hosts the “Navigate the Wait” health fair, where patients awaiting kidney transplants can:

  • Review their status
  • Discuss test results
  • Get information on the donor swap program
  • Meet other patients on the transplant waiting list

Patients and potential donors can visit booths on living donation, desensitization, ABO incompatible transplants, and much more.

To find out about our next Navigate the Wait fair, contact us at 713-441-5451.

The waiting period

Once you are on the list, the wait for a donor organ will begin. From the time you are placed on the list, you need to be ready to receive a transplant. While you are waiting for a kidney transplant, we offer education classes on the transplant process, which you and your caregivers are encouraged to attend.

It is very important that we always have your current address, phone number and insurance information. If you don’t yet have a primary care doctor, this is a good time to get one. Please contact us right away if your condition worsens or if you go to the hospital for any reason.

Your kidney transplant surgery

During the kidney transplant surgery, you will be put under general anesthesia; you will not be awake or feel anything. You will also be placed on a machine to help you breathe. Your anesthesiologist will provide more details before surgery.

Once you are asleep, IV lines and a tube to drain your urine will be put into place. The transplant surgeon will make a cut in your lower abdomen where your new kidney will be placed.

It is normal to have some bleeding after surgery. Special mechanical sleeves will be placed around your legs to keep the blood circulating so that clots can be prevented. You will be in the operating room for about three hours.

Next: After the Surgery >