The science and practice of organ transplantation surgery can transform lives. When an organ such as the kidney or pancreas stops working on its own, transplant surgery can allow you to live a fuller life, on your terms.
At the Institute for Surgical Excellence, we offer comprehensive kidney and pancreas transplant services from transplant specialists with decades of experience. We’ll guide you through the entire transplant process and support you in every way, including helping you find a suitable living kidney donor. We maintain a transplant rate well above the national and regional norms, and based on biannual SRTR (Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients) reports, time on our wait list is significantly lower than at other centers.
Why do people need kidney transplants?
People who need kidney transplants have end-stage renal disease, are on dialysis, or their kidneys are functioning at less than 20% of capacity. Most transplant recipients have kidney disease because of long-term chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
How do I get referred to the Lehigh Valley Health Network transplant program?
You can be referred to the LVHN transplant program by a nephrologist or dialysis center. You also can self-refer to our program.
How do you get on the transplant list?
Everyone must be evaluated for appropriateness for transplant candidacy, and not everyone will be placed on the transplant waiting list. You may not be healthy enough for a transplant or have other problems which limit your candidacy.
If you are approved for transplant, you will be placed on the wait list. In this region, our wait list time is 3-4 years, so it’s important to be evaluated early – as soon as kidney function is less than 20% of normal. During your time on a wait list, you can begin searching for a suitable living donor.
You must be on the transplant list to receive a transplant, regardless of the type of donor. You have the right and the ability to be on wait lists at multiple transplant centers in the U.S.
What is the process of a pancreas transplant?
The pancreas transplant process mirrors the kidney transplant process. However, there are different types of pancreas transplants, including simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplants.
For a kidney transplant, the average hospital stay is five days. Pancreas transplants require a longer hospitalization as it is a more complex surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions from Transplant Candidates
Transplant candidates who register at the Institute for Surgical Excellence receive kidneys much faster than at other programs in this region of the country. We also maintain a transplant success rate well above the national and regional norms with a 94% success rate for kidney transplants. Register at the region’s only transplant center to spend less time waiting and more time living.
First, you will need to be evaluated by our health care team. Some basic criteria include being healthy enough for a transplant and identifying other health problems that could affect the success of a kidney transplant.
Watch this informative video on dialysis vs. transplant.
Everyone must be evaluated for appropriateness for transplant candidacy, and not everyone will be placed on the transplant waiting list. You may not be healthy enough for a transplant or have other problems which limit your candidacy. Determining if you are a candidate for any organ transplant requires a comprehensive evaluation, beginning with a medical record review, and the process often includes additional medical testing. Beyond the initial indicators, all patients must be fully evaluated by the transplant team to determine if transplantation is the best treatment option.
Potential transplant candidates include:
- Patients with end-stage kidney disease on dialysis.
- Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or 5 with calculated or estimated GFR <20ml/min).
- Patients with chronic kidney disease (stage 4 with GFR <30ml/min) who also need another organ transplant.
- Patients with chronic kidney disease who have type 1 diabetes that has not responded to medical treatment may also be considered for a combined kidney-pancreas transplant.
After kidney transplant, 94% of transplanted kidneys are functioning. The recovery process is different from person to person.
Our LVHN Transplant specialists explain the answer:
If you are approved for a kidney transplant, you will be placed on the waiting list. In this region, our wait-list time is 3-4 years, so it’s important to be evaluated early – as soon as kidney function is less than 20% of normal. During your time on a wait list, you can begin searching for a suitable living donor.
You must be on the transplant list to receive a kidney transplant, regardless of the type of donor. You have the right and the ability to be on wait lists at multiple transplant centers in the U.S.
Our LVHN Transplant specialists explain receiving a transplant from a living donor:
You should let friends and family know about your transplant needs. People receiving a kidney from a living donor have better outcomes than those receiving one from a deceased donor. Living donors must be between 18-72 years of age and in good health.
Not everyone who needs a transplant is medically suitable to have a living donor kidney. They may have a complicated medical or surgical history or be too high of a risk. More than half of LVHN transplants are from a deceased donor.
Our LVHN Transplant specialists explain receiving a transplant from a deceased donor:
We encourage any donor who is not a match for their intended recipient to be enrolled in the kidney exchange program. A kidney exchange program matches donors with appropriate recipients. If you want to be a donor but know you are not a match for the person you wish to donate to, we will find you a match for your kidney and in exchange we find a donor who matches your intended recipient.
Learn about post-transplant nutrition from our LVHN Transplant specialists:
Contact our transplant team
If you’re in need of a kidney or pancreas, register at Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. In addition to benefiting from a transplant success rate well above the national average, our patients also receive kidneys much faster than at other programs. When you’re ready, we’re here to help change your life.
If you have any questions regarding whether you or one of your patients is a potential kidney transplant candidate or you’re ready to schedule an appointment, contact our transplant team at Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence.
Get a second opinion for transplant services
We offer leading-edge medical and surgical treatments for a variety of disorders, both rare and routine. By obtaining a second opinion from our skilled treatment team, you’ll receive the peace of mind you need to make an informed decision.
We’ll meet with you to:
• Confirm a diagnosis.
• Explore all treatment options, including treatments or procedures that may not be widely available.
• Discuss whether a treatment or care plan is the best fit for you.
• Ensure you’re confident in the approach and expertise of your care team.
News, Health Tips and Stories
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant
May 3, 2023
Communication during surgery
For families, the hardest part of surgery is waiting and wondering. LVHN now offers secure mobile updates using the EASE app.