Treatments & Procedures

At Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center, your journey toward kidney transplant begins with a thorough evaluation performed by our transplant team; we will start with a series of tests and assessments to give an accurate picture of the severity of your condition and your fitness for surgery.

During your evaluation, you will also meet with a transplant coordinator for education about the transplant process and a financial counselor to review insurance coverage and discuss the financial considerations associated with a kidney transplant. A social worker will conduct a psychosocial evaluation to ensure that you and your family are emotionally prepared for the stress that often accompanies the kidney transplant process. You may also meet with a transplant dietitian to review your nutritional status and needs.

While on the Wait List
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, called allocation policies, have been established to determine how transplant candidates are ranked on the wait list for each type of organ.

Donated kidneys are classified with a kidney donor profile index (KDPI) that ranges from 0 to 100 percent; the score determines how long an individual kidney is likely to function when compared with other donor kidneys. A KDPI of 20 means a kidney is likely to function longer than 80 percent of other available kidneys. On the other hand, potential kidney recipients are evaluated using an estimated posttransplant survival score (EPTS) that ranges from 0 to 100 percent; this estimates how long a patient will need a functioning kidney when compared with other candidates. A kidney determined to last longer will be offered to a candidate who will need a functioning kidney for a longer period of time. 

During the waiting period
Once you are on the list, the wait for a donor organ begins. From the time you are placed on the list, you need to be ready to receive a transplant. You will visit the transplant clinic for an annual update; however, it is important to continue to follow-up regularly with your nephrologist during this time. During the waiting period, you and your caregivers are encouraged to attend our education classes on the transplant process. 

The Kidney Transplant Surgery
Before your kidney transplant surgery, your anesthesiologist will talk with you and explain what will occur during the surgery. You will be given general anesthesia so you will be asleep. You will be in the operating room for about three hours.

After Kidney Transplant Surgery
When you wake after surgery, you will be in our transplant recovery room. We will help you manage any pain you may experience after surgery. Most patients find that pain decreases within a day or two after surgery. Getting out of bed and walking may help reduce pain. Your stay in the hospital may last between three to four days or as long as the transplant team of health professionals determine is necessary.

Going Home and Staying Healthy
You will continue your recovery at home. Daily activity should be limited, including not lifting anything more than five pounds. You may return to most normal activities within a few months.

The transplant team will monitor your progress during recovery. You must be available for clinic appointments, lab tests and follow-up as needed so that the team can determine how well your new kidney is working. 

To take care of your new kidney for the long term, we will work with you to create a healthy diet and exercise plan, one that will help you regain your strength and reduce the risks of diseases that can affect your kidney.

To learn more about what to expect regarding the general transplant process and what issues you will need to address once you return home, view our About Your Transplant page.

Patient Stories
Perhaps the best way to learn about our transplant specialists is through our patients. We invite you to read these inspiring stories.

TREATMENT LOCATIONS

Our physicians specialize in kidney transplantation at the following locations.

Our physicians conduct pre and posttransplant evaluations at the following convenient locations.