Kidney Transplant: 5 Things About The Procedure Selena Gomez Had Done This Summer

Selena Gomez shocked everyone by revealing she had a secret kidney transplant due to complications from Lupus. A transplant is a major procedure, so learn about the surgery that may have just saved Selena’s life.

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1. A kidney transplant is surgery that places a healthy kidney into a person’s body. The term “kidney transplant” is pretty self-explanatory. When someone – in this case, Selena Gomez, 25 – needs a new kidney, doctors take a healthy organ from a donor – in this case, Selena’s friend Francia Raisa, 29 – and use it to replace one of the failing organs. Selena announced that over the summer, she had undergone the procedure after The Secret Life of the American Teenager star volunteered to donate an organ to the “Bad Liar” singer.

2. The surgery is pretty straightforward. Mostly, transplanted kidneys are attached in the lower abdomen, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The surgeon connects the artery and vein from the donor kidney to an artery and a vein in the patient’s body, so blood flows through this new organ. The doctor also attaches the ureter from the donor kidney to the patient’s bladder, so that urine can also flow through the new kidney. The surgery usually takes 3 or 4 hours.

3. Two people go under the knife at the same time. When Selena announced that she underwent the procedure, she did so by sharing a picture of her and Francia both in hospital gowns while lying in side-by-side beds. That’s because the surgeons operate on two people at once. One doctor performs the nephrectomy – the removal of the healthy kidney from the donor – while another transplants the organ in the patient’s body. In some medical centers, the same surgeon performs both operations.

4. A kidney transplant is only possible due to a donor. Selena was lucky in that she found a willing and eligible donor.  A donor’s blood type must be compatible with the patient, and both Selena and Francia had to be tested to see if their human leukocyte antigens matched up. These antigens help a person’s immune system tell the difference between their body and foreign substances. A critical mismatch means that Selena’s immune system would immediate attack Francia’s kidney, thinking it was an invading disease.

People needing a kidney but who don’t have a donor are put in a waiting list, which could have them waiting from a few months to several years. Kidneys don’t have to come from living people, as surgeons can take healthy organs from people who passed away. Consider becoming an organ donor to help save a life!

5. Selena needed the surgery due to lupus nephritis. So, every day, a person’s kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarters of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarters of urine. The kidney removes all the harmful wastes and extra salt from your body. While many things can cause Chronic Kidney disease – aka the gradual loss of kidney function – Selena needed the new organ because of her Lupus. A version of the disease, called lupus nephritis, causes inflammation of the small blood vessels that filter wastes in the kidneys, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Basically, Sel’s Lupus made her immune system attack her kidneys, and she needed a new organ in order to survive.

What do you think about Selena admitting she had a kidney transplant, HollywoodLifers? Are you going to become an organ donor after Sel sharing her story?

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