When a kidney fails to filter the body's blood, causing harmful wastes to build up, doctors may turn to a kidney transplant to help save a patient's life.
During a kidney transplant from a living donor, one team of surgeons will remove the kidney from the donor - while another prepares the recipient for placement of the donated kidney. Then a surgeon will take that healthy kidney and connect it to the artery and vein in the recipient's body, enabling it to filter blood flow and produce urine, doing the work of the two failed kidneys the transplant is replacing.
Keep clicking to see an inside look at this life-saving transplant surgery.
In this image, a kidney donor watches as a consent form is signed by a witness before a kidney transplant operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.
As after any major surgery, patients may feel sore and groggy when they wake up. However, many transplant recipients report feeling much better immediately after surgery. Even if you wake up feeling great, you'll need to stay in the hospital for about a week to recover from surgery, and longer if you have any complications.
A patient incision is stapled shut after having a donated kidney sewn in during a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Patients can help prevent kidney rejection by taking your medicines and following your diet, but it's important to tell a doctor if a patient sees any signs of rejection-like fever or soreness in the area of the new kidney or a change in the amount of urine produced.