Patients with kidney failure may be treated with either dialysis or transplantation. For most patients between 6 months and 70 years of age, kidney transplantation offers opportunities for greatly improved quality of life compared to dialysis – higher energy levels and greater freedom from restrictive schedules. With a functioning transplanted kidney, recipients must take medications every day to prevent attack from their own immune systems, but otherwise carry on normally with their lives as they were before dialysis became necessary.
Each type of kidney transplant has varying levels of expected success simply because of the source of donation. Some family members may have exceptionally good tissue matches with their recipients, thus resulting in outstanding long term success rates. Transplants from others living donors also give excellent function because the transit time from donor to recipient is so rapid that there is little injury to the kidney, and thus less rejection. With kidneys donated from deceased donors, there is longer preservation time, but still excellent hope for long-term success and significantly improved life expectancy than on dialysis alone.