Kidney Transplant in Turkey

Kidney Transplant in Turkey

Turkey is one of the leading countries in the world that has a high success rate in kidney transplantation from live donors. Its world-class service, highly qualified healthcare professionals from reputed universities, and advanced healthcare system have attracted people from Europe, Asia, Africa, and all other parts of the world.


Before we dive into the reasons for choosing Turkey as a kidney transplant destination let us understand kidney transplantation in brief.

Table of Contents

Turkey – A renowned place for kidney transplantation

Many suffer from kidney failure but the number of donors does not match the number of recipients. There has been a lot of improvement in kidney transplantation in Turkey. Public health awareness with the help of the Health Ministry has managed to fill the gap to a certain extent.

Turkey is one of the countries that invests a lot in the health sector. There has been a rise in the number of patients visiting Turkey for organ transplantation. It seems Turkey is becoming a favorite destination for kidney transplantation.

The rich history of organ transplantation in Turkey continues to enhance its reputation. According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, the first living-related renal transplant was done in Turkey in 1975. Then the first deceased donor kidney transplantation was performed in 1978. In 29 years, Turkey has performed 6686 kidney transplantation nationwide.

From the time before to today, there has been a lot of technological development. As a result, there are not many challenges faced today when compared to earlier days. 

Kidney transplantation activities are growing with time. Due to a large number of kidney donors, highly experienced doctors, qualified professionals from reputed universities, and its cost-effective procedures, Turkey is attracting people around the world.

Also, the cost of kidney transplantation starts from 20,000 USD to 27,000 USD without compromising the quality of care when compared to some developed countries.

Turkey's position in kidney transplantation in the world

Turkey stands amongst one of the top countries for cost-effective kidney transplantation from live donors. The cost of surgery when compared to other developed countries is far less.

Turkish doctors have been performing kidney transplantation since 1975. The efficiency and ability of Turkish healthcare professionals are demonstrated by cross kidney transplantation operations in Istanbul in 2018.

The procedure of kidney transplantation in Turkey

The surgery for a kidney transplant is performed under general anaesthesia and it takes 2-4 hours for a complete procedure. For the transplantation of the kidney, there is a recipient and a donor.

The recipient is the one who receives the kidney and the donor is the one who donates the kidney. While placing the kidney in the recipient’s body it is usually placed in a location different from the original. So, in this respect kidney transplantation differs from other organ transplantations.

In Turkey, living donor kidney transplantation is the most common type of transplantation. The surgery is performed with a closed method. Thus, minimizing the surgical wound, post-operative pain, and other complications. This makes the patient feel comfortable after the surgery is performed.

  1. Procedure performed on the recipient
    • An intravenous line is connected through the wrist and a catheter is connected in the arms and neck. This keeps the blood pressure and heart rate under check.
    • The part of the surgical site is prepared and a catheter is inserted in the urinary bladder.
    • Patient is placed on the table in the supine position.
    • General anesthesia is administered with a tube inserted into the lungs through the mouth. The tube is connected to the ventilator for the patient to breathe during surgery.
  2. Procedure performed on the donor


    • Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level are closely monitored.
    • The area of the incision is cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
    • Incision is made on the lower abdomen.
    • The kidney is properly examined before proceeding to transplant.
    • Left kidney of the donor is placed on the right side of the recipient and the right kidney of the donor on the left side of the recipient.
    • Required arteries are sewed and gradually the ureter gets connected with the bladder.
    • At last dressing is done.

Common problems in kidney transplantation are avoided in Turkey

Organ rejection is one of the most common challenges faced while transplanting the kidney from donor to recipient.

The organ rejection is mainly of three types-

  • Hyper-acute rejection- the body rejects the grafted kidney within a few minutes after transplantation.
  • Acute rejection- the body rejects the organ after 1 week to 3 months.
  • Chronic rejection- the body rejects the organ after many years of transplantation.

Turkey performs kidney transplants from live donors who are related to the recipient. As a result, organ rejection is bypassed in most cases.

Reasons why Turkey stands as one of the popular hubs of medical tourism for kidney transplantation

If you are looking for kidney transplantation in Turkey then the below-given points will help you make a decision.
  1. The Health ministry in Turkish pays utmost importance to the health sector. It makes sure the proper hygiene of hospitals is maintained. As a result, there is an increase in the number of kidney donors throughout the nation.
  2. Highly experienced and well-qualified professionals from reputed universities in the world.
  3. Turkey has a high survival rate when compared to countries in Europe, Asia, United States, etc. Due to the good number of donors, the waiting time is not long. This makes Turkey the most preferable country for kidney transplantation.
  4. Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey are equipped with world-standard hospitals. These two cities are most preferred.
  5. The kidney transplantation procedure is a low-cost procedure when compared to other nations.
  6. There has been a growing awareness of kidney transplantation and the public health ads with efforts from the Ministry of Health in Turkey have played a significant role in increasing the number of donors.
  7. Also, Turkey is naturally connected with European and Asian countries. This makes Turkey an easily accessible destination for both continents.
  8. The beaches in Turkey and the natural beauty of the place make the patient feel better.
  9. As per the article in Daily Sabah 391 foreigners underwent kidney transplantation in 2018.
The continuous effort to maintain quality care and services has upgraded the success rate of kidney transplantation in Turkey. The hospitals in Turkey are equipped with world-class healthcare professionals, no wonder why it is turning out to be a tourism hub for kidney transplantation.

The average cost of Kidney Transplantation in Turkey

The cost of kidney transplantation in Turkey is comparatively less than in other developed countries. However, the cost of kidney transplantation depends upon the various factors such as:

  • Number of stays required in the hospital and room choice
  • Total days spent in ICU
  • Consultation and procedure fees
  • Tests required before surgery
  • Post-surgery care
  • Choice of hospital
  • Type of transplant
  • If dialysis is required
  • Any other procedure if required

The average cost starts from 20,000-27,000 USD. The Health ministry in Turkey is making constant efforts to reduce the cost of kidney transplantation and improve the quality of life.

The nominal surgery fees are one of the prime reasons for foreigners to choose Turkey as a destination for kidney transplantation.

How kidney transplantation works in Turkey

  • Living donor kidney transplant accounts for the majority of kidney transplant surgeries. Donors with certain infections or diseases are not eligible to donate their kidneys.
  • A person is allowed to donate only after a thorough medical examination and after final approval from concerned doctors.
  • Turkey allows only living donor kidney transplants. Hence there is a long waiting time.
  • Kidney transplantation is preferred to be done in patients who are at the critical stage of kidney disease.
  • Kidney is transplanted from the donor to the recipient as soon as the donor meets all the required conditions.

Prerequisites for kidney transplantation in Turkey

Most of the transplant surgeries performed in Turkey include kidney transplantation from live donors. According to the studies it is found that the number of kidney transplants from live donors exceeds far from transplantation from the deceased ones. Some of the requirement for a kidney transplant in Turkey are : 
  • A donor must be above 18 years old and must be a relative to the recipient.
  • If the donor is not a relative then the Ethics Committee makes the decision.
  • Donors must be free from any infection or disease such as diabetes, cancer, etc.
  • Pregnant women cannot be a donor.
  • In the case of a deceased donor, there must be a written document from the deceased person or his/her relatives.
  • As per the laws, the donor must be up to four-degree relatives to a patient.

Advantages of kidney transplantation in Turkey

Apart from the rich history of kidney transplantation, the country has constantly improved its healthcare services. Turkey offers the following advantages to kidney transplantation.
  • The operating room and intensive care units are equipped with the latest technology.
  • The donor protection program in Turkey is a unique service.
  • The hospitals dedicatedly follow the ethics of kidney donation and transplantation.
  • The infrastructure is based on international standards.
  • Use of full laparoscopic techniques.
  • The National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Coordination Center within the Ministry of Health take care of organ procurement, distribution, and sharing.

The success rate of kidney transplantation in Turkey

The top hospitals in Turkey have a high success rate in living donor transplants.

Most of the hospitals for kidney transplantation in Turkey are JCI (The Joint Commission International) accredited. Some of the best hospitals recommended in Turkey for kidney transplantation that are JCI (Joint Commission International) certified are

Take away

To evaluate a surgical procedure long-term success rate is the best way to measure the efficiency of treatment. The healthcare system in Turkey follows the measures to maintain a high success rate in long term. With the specialized medical treatment before and after the surgery, Turkey has turned out to be the first choice for kidney transplantation. The country has proved to be a global leader in the kidney transplant industry.

Turkey is a rising star in the kidney transplantation industry and it continues to polish its skill and standard. Top medical facilities, the latest technologies, affordable prices, quick appointments, and ease of travel are some of the prime reasons to choose Turkey for kidney transplantation.

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