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Organ Donation and Transplantation - Where is a kidney transplant placed?


Key Points

  • A kidney transplant is not put in the same place as a normal kidney
  • The old kidneys can normally be left in place
  • In some cases the old kidneys have to be removed before a transplant can take place

Where is a kidney transplant placed?

The normal position for a transplant is low down in the abdomen, well away from the position of normal kidneys. The transplant sits under the muscle and skin, and can be felt under the skin if you press hard, just above the pelvic brim – the pelvic brim is the bone you can feel just above the pocket on a pair of trousers.

It is not necessary, therefore, to remove someone’s own, failed kidneys in order to do a transplant. Exceptions are when these kidneys are often infected, and might cause problems after a transplant, Also, some people with polycystic kidneys have such large kidneys that there is no room in the side to put transplant, so that one of the polycystic kidneys must be removed. To remove someone’s old kidneys at the same time as a transplant would increase the risks of complications and mortality, so that such operations are done before someone goes on the transplant list.

The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 253: Where is a kidney transplant placed? written: 01/05/2000 last reviewed: 22/02/2019