Kidney Transplant

Patients on dialysis and those whose kidneys don’t function properly can depend on UC San Diego Health’s kidney transplant program for comprehensive and customized transplantation services.

As the only academic kidney transplant program in the region, we offer you access to sophisticated surgical techniques and advanced treatments developed through innovative research. We transplant kidneys from deceased donors as well as living donors. Our patient survival rates for kidney transplants exceed the national average.

Depend on us for comprehensive care for transplant recipients and living donors before, after and during transplantation. Our team — part of the renowned Center for Transplantation — saves lives every day while taking on some of the toughest, highest-risk cases.

Why Choose Us?

We provide the most comprehensive array of care options for patients who receive kidney transplants, including leading-edge surgical techniques and innovative immunosuppression treatments. We also consider transplant candidates over age 70 and offer steroid avoidance for many patients.


~ We are San Diego's largest program with 3,443 kidney transplants performed since 1968, including 178 in 2023.

~ In 2018, we celebrated 50 years as the San Diego region's first kidney transplantation program.

Paying for Your Transplant

Rely on our financial coordinator to help you with every financial aspect of your transplant surgery. UC San Diego Health accepts most major insurance plans for transplant services.

View Transplant Plans Accepted

Advantages of Transplants at UC San Diego Health

  • Steroid avoidance: Patients who are low immunologic risk can be weaned off of steroids within a week after their transplant, thereby reducing the risks of debilitating side effects of steroids.
  • Hepatitis C transplants: Thanks to new medications for hepatitis C, we can transplant some kidneys from patients with hepatitis C into patients without hepatitis C. We can then treat the kidney recipient for the disease after the transplant. This can decrease time on the waiting list with minimal risk.
  • Transplants for patients with BMI over 40: We treat patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 with pre-surgical approval and offer a free weight loss class.
  • Transplants for patients over age 70: We consider transplant candidates over age 70 if they are in good overall health and will use kidneys from donors up to age 70.
  • Customized reevaluation: A customized reevaluation can be provided based on patient risk factors.
  • Kidney donation programs: We have a well-developed living donor program and a longstanding relationship with the National Kidney Registry for other kidney donation programs.
  • Telehealth options: If the patient is out of the county, we offer telehealth care options.

Kidney Autotransplantation

Patients who have certain kidney diseases may benefit from an advanced surgical procedure called kidney autotransplantation.

We are one of the few programs in Southern California that perform this kidney-saving operation. Our highly trained surgeons can remove a kidney from its usual position and transplant it back into your body at a different spot.

Kidney autotransplants are useful in treating patients with kidney diseases — including loin pain hematuria syndrome and nutcracker syndrome — and those who have severe pain and bloody urine. Pain can be relieved by removing the kidney and placing it behind the pelvic bone. Moving the kidney to another part of your body breaks its connection with nerves, causing the chronic pain to stop.

We use minimally invasive surgical procedures to minimize incisions, reduce pain after surgery and ensure faster recovery. Because your own kidney is being retransplanted into your body, you don’t need to take anti-rejection medications (immunosuppressants) that are necessary to prevent the body from rejecting a donated kidney from another body.

Kidney Transplant Process

Find out about the kidney transplantation process, from referral to health screening to getting on the national waiting list. Know more about transplant surgery, post-surgical care and recovery.

What to Expect

Classes & Support Groups for Kidney Transplant Patients

Join our complimentary classes and/or support groups to learn about the kidney transplant process, ask questions and share your experiences with other transplant patients.

Get support


Support Our Patient Assistance Fund

Donations are vital in helping kidney transplant recipients and living kidney donors as well as their families. Your financial gift is deeply appreciated!

Give now to the abdominal transplant support fund or the Brian Underwood endowed fund.