Kidney Transplant Surgery and Services| MedStar Health

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Informational chart which shows that MedStar Health performs more living donor kidney transplants than other Maryland/DC/Virginia medical systems..

MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute is the area's best resource for the evaluation and treatment of chronic kidney disease, renal failure, and complications of diabetes. We offer the expertise of some of the foremost kidney specialists in the country and our patients have access to a wide range of pioneering kidney transplant options, including one of the most successful laparoscopic living donor kidney programs in the region. Our transplant outcomes and survival rates are among the best in the nation.

MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute is a member of the National Kidney Registry (NKR). The NKR’s goal is to help donors receive the best matched kidneys for better outcomes and longer lasting kidneys. As an NKR member, we’re able to offer kidney transplant patients and living donors programs and benefits that other non-NKR centers cannot offer, including:

  • Paired kidney exchange
  • Advanced donation
  • Non-directed donation
  • Family voucher program
  • Special donor protections
  • And more

We are a national leader in the NKR’s living donor paired kidney exchange and the management of recipients and donors who have incompatible organs or immune-system sensitivity. Only a handful of transplant centers in America offer this to their patients.

Learn more about living kidney donation.

Kidney transplant evaluation

Once you contact the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, either by calling 202-444-3700 or completing the online form, you will be scheduled for a pre-transplant evaluation to assess your overall health to ensure you are eligible for kidney transplant surgery. This evaluation includes the following:
  • Initial education program about the benefits and details of kidney transplantation
  • Interview with our transplant physicians to answer your questions about kidney transplant

  • Review of your medical history

  • Physical examination

  • Psychosocial evaluation with a transplant social worker to address your support needs following transplant

  • Meeting with our financial counselor to make sure you are fully covered for your post-transplant expenses

  • Blood tests for tissue typing and antibody screening

  • Information on the benefits of living donation and contact information for anyone who may want to donate a kidney to you

  • Consultations with various specialists to make sure kidney transplant is a safe option for you

  • Presentation of the information gathered to our multidisciplinary pre-transplant committee for final review and approval of your transplant candidacy

Additional testing may be required, depending on your individual needs.

Following a successful evaluation, you will be placed on the kidney transplant waiting list. You, your nephrologist, and your dialysis unit (if you are on dialysis) will be notified when you’re added to the waitlist. During your time on the waitlist, it is important that you maintain yourself in the best possible condition.

All patients who qualify for kidney transplant are placed on a waiting list for an organ form a deceased donor. Patients can remain on the deceased donor list even as a potential living donor is being evaluated - the two processes can be happening simultaneously.


Transplant surgeons Jessica Davis, Rohit Satoskar and Atoosa Rabiee pose for a group portrait.

Life-saving liver and kidney transplant care for U.S. veterans at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. Covered through your VA insurance.

Veterans living anywhere in the U.S. who need a liver or kidney transplant can receive this care from the experienced transplant specialists at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, one of the top transplant centers in the nation. The Veteran’s Administration recently added the Institute to its network, giving veterans access to the expert, compassionate care provided by the multidisciplinary MedStar Georgetown transplant team.

This collaborative program allows veterans to continue receiving much of their care pre- and post-transplant at the VA, with the transplant procedure taking place at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. The MedStar Georgetown team of transplant specialists provide care tailored to the needs of each patient, using the latest surgical techniques and technology, including minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgery and living donor transplant to treat end-stage kidney and liver disease.

And as long as you have your evaluation with your local VA, everything is covered by your VA insurance.

To learn more about the VA-MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute program, click here.

Kidney transplant surgery

Photo of transplant Dr. Jennifer Verbesey during a surgical transplant operation.

During kidney transplant surgery, your surgeon makes an incision in your lower abdomen. Placing the kidney in this location allows it to be easily connected to blood vessels and the bladder.

Blood supply is restored to your new kidney by linking your kidney to your blood vessels. The ureter of the new kidney is then attached to your bladder to allow normal function to resume.

Your old kidneys typically are not removed unless there are other complicating conditions related to leaving them in place.

Kidney transplantation usually requires a hospital stay of three to five days.

Kidney Transplant

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Kidney transplant recovery

Your MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute team will monitor your recovery to help avoid complications. Learn more about kidney transplant recovery.

National kidney registry donor shield program

We are the area’s only National Kidney Registry Donor Shield program, providing a range of donor protections that are otherwise not offered in the region. This program provides a safety net for living kidney donors through a range of protections. Donors who undergo surgery at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute will qualify for the following protections through the National Kidney Registry:
  • Donation life insurance with a $500,000 principal sum, covering a period of one year post-surgery.
  • Donation disability insurance with a $1,500 maximum weekly benefit, covering a period of one year post-surgery, with a 30-day waiting period.

  • Financial protection for complications that ensures donors are never asked to pay for a post-surgical complication that is a result of their kidney donation.

  • Legal representation should a donor’s employment or health insurance be negatively affected by living donation.

Donors who undergo surgery at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute may qualify for the following protections:

  • Lost wage reimbursement up to six weeks for donors who will have a loss of income during their recovery period.

  • Travel and lodging reimbursement of up to $3,000. This includes expenses associated with the evaluation and surgery. Driving expenses are reimbursed at the IRS mileage rate and lodging covers a hotel near MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

To learn more, speak with a living donor social worker at 202-444-3714.

Additionally, we offer innovative programs that help you find a living donor, and make it easier for living donors:

  • Microsites: We help you develop a website to assist with your outreach to potential donors.
  • Advanced Donation: Allows a donor to donate on a specific date even if the intended paired recipient is not ready for transplant.
  • Family Voucher Program: Provides an opportunity for a non-directed donor to give the Gift of Life to someone while assuring their immediate family will be protected should they ever need a transplant.
  • Eplet Matching: We are one of the only transplant centers working with the NKF to use eplet matching to find more compatible organs for our recipients. Eplets are an even more precise way to see if a patient “matches” another person. Using this new technology recipients may need less immunosuppression medication after transplant, may have fewer complications from antibodies and rejection, and may keep their transplants longer.

See the additional information section below for brochures with detailed information on these programs.


Combined kidney and pancreas transplant

A combined kidney-pancreas transplant simultaneously places a new kidney and pancreas into someone who has kidney failure related to diabetes. After successful kidney-pancreas transplantation, patients do not need dialysis and usually no longer require diabetic medications including insulin.

Our providers

A team of transplant surgeons from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital pose for a group photo in the operating room.

Expert transplant care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our transplant nephrologists or surgeons.

Refer a patient

Provider and Dialysis Social Workers

Refer a patient to our program

Close up photo of 2 people's wrists each with a hospital bracelet that says "Donor" or "Recipient".

Living donor

The fastest way to receive a kidney transplant is a living donor kidney transplant. This may make it possible for you to stop dialysis sooner or even to avoid starting dialysis.

Learn More About Living Kidney Donation

Patient stories