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A kidney transplant can be life-changing — and lifesaving.

If you’ve been told a kidney transplant could help you get back to living a healthy life, chances are, you probably have a lot of questions. How does the waiting list work? What can I expect from surgery and recovery? And what will my life be like after I’m back on my feet?

At Cleveland Clinic, we know the idea of having major surgery can be stressful — and leave you feeling a bit unsure. We’re here to ease your fears, listen to your concerns and work with you to craft a personalized treatment plan for the best possible results and recovery.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Kidney Transplant Surgery?

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Trusted experts:

Cleveland Clinic has nearly six decades of kidney transplant and kidney donation experience. We’ve done thousands of kidney transplants since 1963. Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

We continue to study how kidneys work and use what we learn from each transplant so we can provide even more effective care. We’ve also done groundbreaking research using kidneys from deceased donors with COVID-19.

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Minimally invasive options:

Cleveland Clinic did the world’s first single-port (one small incision) robotic kidney transplant. Our kidney transplant surgeons also do laparoscopic nephrectomies (kidney removal) on living donors. These techniques help those who receive kidneys and those who donate them have less pain and faster recoveries.

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Demonstrated expertise:

We’re a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and a platinum member for organ awareness by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And, at Cleveland Clinic, recipients get a deceased donor kidney transplant faster than the national average, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

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Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. For some follow-ups, you can schedule virtual visits. You and your providers will meet one-on-one using a smartphone, tablet or computer — and an internet connection.

Kidney Transplant Evaluation at Cleveland Clinic

Our comprehensive kidney transplant program focuses on the unique physical and emotional needs of recipients, living donors and families. From donor selection to long-term follow-up care, we provide all the services you need from one trusted source.

Your team will use research-based guidelines and tools to decide if you’re eligible for kidney transplant surgery. Here’s what you can expect during this stage of the kidney transplant process.


If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), your healthcare provider may refer you to Cleveland Clinic for a kidney transplant. You can also refer yourself using our self-referral portal. After receiving your referral, our team will contact you and your healthcare provider to gather more information to help us determine if you’re a candidate for a kidney transplant.

Pre-transplant assessment

If we determine you meet the kidney transplant requirements, our transplant team will look at your medical needs, health risks and if you’re psychologically ready for transplant surgery. We may ask you to have more tests during this process.

Wait list

Once you and the transplant team agree that a kidney transplant is right for you, we’ll place you on a national kidney transplant waiting list. You may receive a kidney from a deceased donor or a living donor.

Meet Our Kidney Transplant Team

A successful kidney transplant requires the expertise of specialists in many different areas who focus on transplant surgeries. They’ll work together to make sure you’re a good candidate for a kidney transplant and then coordinate your care for the best results. Your care team could include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at the main campus in Cleveland or Weston Hospital in Florida.

Kidney Transplant Surgery

Once we find a good match or you have a living donor, we’ll do your kidney transplant surgery right away. If you have a living donor, we’ll do surgery on you and your donor at the same time. A team of experienced healthcare providers will keep a close eye on you throughout the transplant process — from surgery through recovery and beyond.

If you want to donate a kidney

At Cleveland Clinic, we don’t just work with kidney transplant recipients. We also help donors who want to donate one of their two healthy kidneys. This type of transplant is called living kidney donation. There are a few ways to be a living donor:

  • Directed donation: You can donate a kidney to a friend or loved one in need. Blood relatives tend to be the best matches because they’re genetically similar. Organ transplants are most successful when the donor and recipient have the same blood or tissue type.
  • Paired donation: If your kidney isn’t a good match for the person you want to donate to, you may be able to do a paired donation. You can donate your kidney to someone else who is a match, and someone who the recipient knows donates a kidney to your loved one. Transplant surgeons at Cleveland Clinic have even done a six-person kidney swap (involving three donors and three recipients).
  • Nondirected (altruistic) donation: You don’t have to have an intended recipient. In this case, your kidney donation goes to the recipient who’ll be the best match.

Becoming a living donor can be a rewarding process. And we’re here to help you understand its physical and emotional demands so you can make an informed decision. You must be at least 18 years old to donate a kidney and undergo a rigorous testing process before the transplant process begins. We need to make sure you and your kidneys are healthy enough for surgery.

Taking the Next Step

When you have advanced kidney disease, a kidney transplant could be the answer to better health. We’re here to support you through every stage of this journey — before, during and after surgery.

And if you’re interested in donating a kidney, we’ll guide you through your options to help you make an informed choice. At Cleveland Clinic, we want to make kidney transplant surgery available and accessible to both recipients and donors — and changes lives.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s kidney transplant experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s kidney transplant experts is easy. We’re here to help you get care.

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