Kidney Transplant

Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center operates one of Texas’ largest kidney transplant programs, performing nearly 200 transplants annually. Houston Methodist and the transplant center are passionate about transplantation, and we believe in and practice excellence.
Our kidney transplant team includes nephrologists, surgeons, pathologists, nurse coordinators, social workers, financial coordinators and dietitians who manage each patient’s case from diagnosis to transplant and recovery.

Our highly skilled surgeons and specialists perform the most technically advanced procedures and are able to perform transplantations on patients who typically are turned away from other centers. We have made kidney transplantation an accepted diabetes and renal failure treatment, building on the innovations of generations of doctors. 

Our passionate doctors and staff strive to keep patients in the best possible condition until transplantation. We are among the few transplant centers nationwide to employ nurse dialysis liaisons to reach out to dialysis patients as they wait for transplantation to:

  • Track them and update health records until transplantation
  • Educate them, answer questions and provide support

Finding a Living Kidney Donor

We strongly encourage and teach patients the importance of finding someone who would be willing to give them a kidney, even though they could wait for a deceased donor’s kidney. Living donations are better because they:

  • Last longer — an average of 15 to 20 years
  • Lead to quicker transplantations, typically in less than six months 
  • Require lower anti-rejection medication doses
  • Immediately function following transplantation without need for periodic dialysis
  • Allow patients to better plan for transplantation, as well as avoid or reduce time on dialysis

 Our center is one of a handful that removes donor kidneys through single site laproscopy, minimizing pain and allowing for earlier return to normal life, speeding donor recovery. 

Kidney Donor Swaps 

The transplant center has extensive experience in performing kidney donor swaps — a series of donor/recipient exchanges that occur until each patient has a match. Most recently, we performed a six-way swap — the second-largest chain executed at a Texas hospital. The swap started with a woman who intended to donate a kidney to the son of a church acquaintance. It grew to include 10 more people — five recipients and five donors.

Such swaps depend on donors who have the right biology, as well as sophisticated computer-matching technology to appropriately pair donors and recipients. Our transplant center has the capacity to simultaneously perform these complex multiple transplants to ensure timely swap completion.

Houston Methodist participates in the national donor swap program and operates Houston’s largest donor swap program, performing the first donor swap in 2008. In 2010, we executed a three-way swap across three states as well as an 11-pair swap. Then, in 2011, we participated in an astounding 30-pair swap.

Charting the Future of Kidney Transplantation 

We continuously perform clinical trials and research to find new ways to treat kidney disease and improve transplantations. 

Every day, we see patients whose lives have been changed by transplantation. Those patients fuel our work.

“It’s what keeps you going,” said A. Osama Gaber, MD, distinguished chair and director of the transplant center. “Our patients are amazingly grateful. We build lifelong relationships. We’re really involved in their lives.”

Conditions Treated

Kidney failure caused by:
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Glomerulonephritis — acute kidney inflammation
  • Inherited diseases
  • Birth defects
  • Autoimmune diseases, including lupus
  • Kidney obstructions, like stones and tumors
  • Repeated urinary tract infections
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – a genetic disorder causing cysts to grow in the kidneys
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) – gradual kidney function loss


  • Deceased donor – a kidney transplant involving a person who has died
  • Living donor

After Surgery

Following transplant, patients:
  • Live a better quality of life because of improved health
  • Regain independence because they no longer require dialysis and have fewer dietary restrictions
  • Follow scheduled lab tests and clinic visits to ensure proper kidney function
  • Take anti-rejection medications


Our doctors specialize in kidney transplantation at the following locations: