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Kidney Transplantation

The lives of more than 60 people changed forever thanks to one special donor and Facebook.


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

3,154: We are San Diego's largest program with 3,154 kidney transplants performed since 1968.

​As the only academic kidney transplant program in the region, UC San Diego Health offers patients access to sophisticated surgical techniques and advanced treatments developed through innovative research.

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for transplant recipients and living donors before, after and during transplantation. Our team saves lives every day while taking on some of the toughest, highest-risk cases.

Why Choose Us?

As the only academic medical center in the region, we provide the most comprehensive array of care options for patients who receive kidney transplants, including leading-edge surgical techniques, minimally invasive robotic surgery for living donors and innovative immunosuppression treatments. We also consider transplant candidates over age 70 and offer steroid avoidance for many patients.

High Survival Rate

Our one-year patient survival rates for kidney transplants exceed the national average, placing us among the nation's best transplant centers by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). Learn about our high transplant survival rates.

Living Kidney Donation

As part of the National Kidney Registry's Paired Exchange Program, we have the unique ability to allow donors who are not blood or tissue compatible to "exchange" their kidney with a donor who is compatible. Our team can also help coordinate with donors who live outside the U.S. Get more information about living kidney donation.

Other Advantages

  • Steroid avoidance: Patients who are low immunologic risk can be weaned off of steroids within a week after their transplant.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Age over 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 Autotransplantation

We are one of the few programs in Southern California that perform kidney autotransplants. Our highly trained surgeons can remove a kidney and transplant it back into your body.

This surgical procedure is useful in treating patients with kidney diseases — including loin pain hematuria syndrome and nutcracker syndrome — and those who have debilitating pain and bloody urine. Pain can be relieved by removing the kidney and placing it behind the pelvic bone.

​Appointments and Referrals

Center For Transplantation Locations

La Jolla

Meet Our Specialists