What Is Autotransplantation of the Kidney?

What Is Autotransplantation of the Kidney?

Autotransplant surgery

Kidney autotransplantation is a type of surgery that helps patients manage severe, long-lasting kidney pain. During the procedure, transplant surgeons remove the kidney that's causing pain and implant—or place—this kidney in a different part of your body.

Even though one of your kidneys has been moved to a different location in your body, your body still works normally because it has two healthy kidneys.

What Happens During Kidney Autotransplant Surgery?

During a kidney autotransplant procedure, surgeons use a type of minimally-invasive surgery called laparoscopy to make small cuts (or incisions) to view the inside of your abdominal wall. Surgeons use a thin wire with a camera attached to help remove your kidney.

After your kidney is removed, surgeons flush the blood from your kidney and then cool it down with a special solution so your kidney stays preserved. Surgeons then place your kidney in a new spot behind your pelvic bone, next to your bladder.

Moving the kidney to another part of your body severs—or breaks—your kidney's connection with nerves. This causes the pain to stop. 

Protecting Your Kidneys During Cardiac Surgery

Some patients also choose to have autotransplant surgery to protect their kidneys during cardiac surgery or thoracoabdominal aneurysm surgery. Having autotransplant surgery during these procedures protects your kidneys, allowing them to work normally after your surgery.

Treating Kidney Pain With Autotransplant Surgery

Some patients choose to have kidney autotransplant surgery to relieve chronic pain caused by the following conditions:

  • Kidney injuries
  • Short or injured ureters
  • Loin pain hematuria syndrome

Autotransplant surgery can soothe the pain around your ureters. These are the ducts where urine passes from your kidneys to your bladder. During autotransplant surgery, surgeons can bypass or shorten the length of your ureter. This helps relieve pain.

What Is Hematuria Syndrome?

Loin pain hematuria syndrome (LPHS) is a condition that causes long-lasting pain around your flanks. Your flanks include your back, sides, and the upper part of your belly. Loin pain hematuria syndrome can happen if you have chronic injuries to your kidneys, usually caused by kidney stone diseases or other illnesses.

For many patients with loin pain hematuria syndrome, having kidney autotransplant surgery is a good option to relieve this long-term pain.


Who Is Eligible?

Kidney autotransplant is only an option for patients with severe kidney pain that hasn't improved with other treatments. Our team will review your medical issues and symptoms to help you determine if autotransplantation is the best option.

Our multidisciplinary team includes urologists, interventional radiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and transplant surgeons. We work together to develop a multidisciplinary care plan for you.

Find a Kidney Autotransplant Surgeon

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University of Utah Health's autotransplant group has multiple ongoing research projects to determine how kidney transplant can help treat kidney disease. We are also actively publishing the results of these studies.