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frequently asked questions

  • What are kidneys and what do they do?
    The kidneys are an important part of the body. Most people have two kidneys, but occasionally people are born with one kidney. The body can function normally if only 20 percent of one kidney is working. The kidneys: Rid the body of internal waste products Control blood pressure Help control blood production Properly functioning kidneys can easily perform all of these tasks. Without adequate kidney function, there may be a build-up of poisonous waste products, high blood pressure, anemia, as well as fluid overload (too much fluid) that can cause swelling and shortness of breath. *Information credit Penn Medicine
  • What is FSGS?
    Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a disease in which scar tissue develops on the parts of the kidneys that filter waste from the blood (glomeruli). FSGS can be caused by a variety of conditions. FSGS is a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure, for which the only treatment options are dialysis or kidney transplant. Treatment options for FSGS depend on the type you have. Information credit: Mayo Clinic,by%20a%20variety%20of%20conditions.
  • How long does it usually take to receive a kidney transplant?
    The average wait for a deceased donor kidney in this region is approximately five to seven years. If an eligible living donor is available, living kidney donation can dramatically reduce waiting time and may help the patient to avoid dialysis. Information credit: Penn Medicine
  • Where do the kidneys for transplant come from?
    Because the body can function with just one kidney, a kidney may be donated by another living person. Kidneys may also be recovered from a deceased person who designated organ donor on their driver’s license or whose family made the decision to donate on their behalf. Kidneys can be transplanted from any person of any sex, race or ethnicity. Information credit: Penn Medicine
  • What is living kidney donation?
    Living kidney donation is when a living person donates a kidney to someone in need of a kidney transplant. Kidneys from a living donor have a better chance of long-term survival than those from a deceased donor. A better match increases graft survival and is correlated with more kidney life years post-transplant. Additionally, the patient outcomes from transplants facilitated by the National Kidney Registry exceed the average U.S. living donor transplant outcomes. Some of the important benefits of living donation are: Shortens or removes the waiting time for a transplant. Allows the procedure to be scheduled at a time convenient for both recipient and donor. Shortens the time the kidney is outside the body, increasing the quality of the organ. Allows for preemptive transplant, or transplant before dialysis. Preemptive transplant gives the best success and survival of both the kidney and the patient. The longer a patient stays on dialysis, the lower the survival and success rates for any type of transplant. *Information credit: Penn Medicine
  • What are the benefits of kidney transplantation?
    • No longer need dialysis as long as kidney functions adequately. • Blood pressure is often easier to manage, but may still require medication. • Long-term follow-up care is less time-consuming than dialysis. • Fluid and dietary restrictions are usually no longer necessary. • Patients may return to work. • Improved quality of life with expected increase in lifespan. • More cost effective than dialysis. *Information credit: Penn Medicine
  • What is the donor process like?
    Questions and fears are inevitable for anyone considering making the life-sustaining gift of a kidney. At NewYork-Presbyterian /Columbia University Medical Center (NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia), a dedicated team is there from the start to help each potential donor fully understand the procedure and to reach the right individual decision. The mission of the team—which consists of a nephrologist (kidney specialist), surgeon, transplant coordinator, social worker, and psychiatrist—is to ensure objectivity and donor advocacy throughout the process. Donors can range in age from 18 years old up into their 70s. Age-specific good health is required and immunological compatibility (blood type and antigens) with the recipient is preferred. Certain diseases or chronic conditions, such as cancer, HIV, hepatitis, and diabetes, will exclude potential donors. Potential donors must undergo a wide range of tests to determine their eligibility, including a full medical history, a battery of blood, urine, EKG, and tissue-typing tests, as well as psychological examinations. In addition, the renal anatomy of all donors is examined to ensure that they are suitable candidates for a laparoscopic nephrectomy—the minimally invasive procedure used by Columbia surgeons to remove the kidney. If you would like to begin this process, the first step is filling out the medical questionnaire. Once the transplant center receives your questionnaire it is reviewed by a transplant coordinator. The center will then contact you to let you know if you are a potential donor for the patient. Information from Columbia Surgery:
  • What is the donor procedure like?
    Since 1996, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia surgeons have been removing kidneys from living donors using a technique known as a laparoscopic nephrectomy. In fact, Dr. Ratner, the program director, performed the world's first laparoscopic nephrectomy with his colleague, Louis Kavoussi, MD. Instead of a single, large incision, a laparoscopic nephrectomy typically requires three, half-inch incisions, through which the surgeon inserts surgical instruments and a camera to view the operating field. Once the surgeon has freed up the kidney to be donated, he or she removes it from the patient through a slightly larger incision. The removed kidney is placed in a bag and chilled on ice until it can be implanted in the recipient. Since this technique uses smaller incisions, donors benefit greatly from reduced post-operative pain, speedier recovery times, and less scarring. On average, kidney donors spend two days in the hospital and can return to their normal activities within three weeks. Today, all donor procedures at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia are performed as laparoscopic nephrectomies. Once a donor has recuperated from the surgery, they can expect to lead a completely normal life—without special medications, restricted diet, or limited physical activities. Information from Columbia Surgery
  • Where is Jamal registered to receive a kidney?
    Jamal is registered with Columbia Presbysterian Hospital in New York. If you wish to donate a kidney to Jamal, please contact their offices and follow the next step procedures.
  • How can I take the next steps to donate a kidney?
    If you want to become a kidney donor, please contact Columbia Presbysterian Hospital. You can reach them at (212) 305-6469 to get started today, or sign up with their online form: I Want to Donate My Kidney Follow the page and links at:
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