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Transplant Surgery in UAE

transplant surgery

With the changing and modernised lifestyles, ever-increasing health problems, and continually growing population, the demand for organ transplantation are rising.

Thanks to surgical advancements and technological improvements that have revised the success rate of transplant surgeries. 

As of date, nearly 1,29,681 transplant surgeries were performed in the year 2020, of which 31.7% are living kidney transplants and 20.4% are living liver transplants. 

Some surveys state that nearly 15 transplant surgeries were operated on in an hour in the year 2020.  

What Is Transplant Surgery?

Transplant surgeries are done to replace the damaged organs of the recipient with healthy and functioning organs obtained from a healthy, compatible donor.

The vital organs are transplanted only as an end-stage treatment option. The damaged organs of the recipient like the heart, kidney, cornea, liver, pancreas, lungs and bone marrow are replaced by healthy organs.

Transplant surgeries increase an individual's life span, making their lifestyle more comfortable rather than experiencing ill symptoms due to organ dysfunction.

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When Does One Require A Transplant Surgery?

Transplant surgeries are the last option for the chronic illness faced by an individual due to organ failure. 

They prevent the death of the patient which may occur due the chronic organ failure. From a layman's understanding, transplant surgeries are chosen to be performed only in cases where a person may die because of the non-functioning of their vital organ.

In most cases, the patients are benefitted from improved quality of life than only prolonging their life span. 

Medical emergencies, congenital organ defects, and chronic organ failure due to unhealthy lifestyles are the general situations where one requires an organ transplant.

Some medical conditions where the doctors look for transplant surgery as an end-stage treatment are,

  • Chronic kidney failure

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Polycystic kidney diseases

  • Congenital heart disease with structural defects

  • Liver cirrhosis leading to organ failure

  • Chronic hepatitis

  • Accidents and fatal injuries demanding an emergency transplant

What Does The Doctor Look Into Before A Transplant Surgery?

The healthy organ from the donor that can be transplanted is the key point to be checked on a priority basis.

Transplant surgeries are complex procedures and can be performed only between closely matched individuals. 

The doctors check for 

  • blood group compatibility,

  • tissue typing (Human leukocyte antigen testing), 

  • cross-matching or antibody compatibility 

  • Serological presence of transmissible disease-causing factors and 

  • body size similarity (between donor and recipient) 

Is Cross-Matching Important Between The Donor And The Recipient For Transplant Surgery?

Yes, for every transplant surgery, the donor and recipient are checked for various compatibility factors like blood grouping, HLA, and antibodies. 

This is very important since the human body is blessed with an innate immune system. The immune system detects any foreign substances and elicits fight mechanisms until they destroy every foreign entity that has entered the human body.

Crossmatching is really essential in order to avoid the donor body’s immune response over the transplant.

What Are Some General Transplant Surgeries?

General transplant surgery

Although kidneys, cornea, liver, pancreas, skin, heart, and bone marrow can be surgically transplanted, some of the widely operated transplantation procedures are,

  1. Liver transplantation

    • Chronic or long-term liver illness in alcoholics, autoimmune and oncological conditions require liver transplantation.

    • The liver transplant can be a complete liver from a brain/cardiac-dead patient or an anatomical segment obtained from the living donor.

  2. Heart transplantation

    • It is done in cases of chronic cardiomyopathy, and congenital and structural heart diseases. 

    • Some patients may require multiple or combinational organ transplants like heart-liver, heart-lung, and heart-kidney transplants. 

  3. Kidney transplantation

    • They are performed in the end-stage kidney diseases of glomerulonephritis, and genetic conditions where all other procedures have failed to provide relief for the patient.

  4. Bone marrow transplantation   

    • The bone marrow synthesizes healthy blood cells including RBCs, WBCs, and platelets.

    • In diseased conditions of bone marrow, healthy bone marrow stem cells from a donor (or self-stem cells)are introduced so that the body can synthesize healthy blood cells.

    • It is performed in cases of leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, thalassemia, multiple myeloma, etc.

What Happens During A Transplant Surgery?

The transplant surgical procedure varies with the organ being transplanted. Although each procedure is unique, the general protocol follows as

An incision is made on the body tissues to access and remove the diseased organ. The healthy organ obtained from the donor is placed in its place and blood vessels are connected to the transplanted organ. After this, the incision on the body is closed. 

Although this may seem simple, the operating procedure is quite complex in practice and requires utmost care. 

There may be some minor operating procedures before or after the major incisional surgery for implanting or removal of catheters etc. 

The entire surgical procedure is under anaesthetics and the patient is kept under intravenous fluids and antibiotics. In cases of excessive bleeding, a blood transfusion is also performed.

What To Expect Immediately After Transplant Surgery?

Immediately after the transplant surgery, the patients are shifted to Intensive care units (ICU) and are continually monitored for vital functions like temperature, oxygen levels, pulse, urine output and blood pressure. 

The patients experience soreness around the incisional site and are under pain management medication.

The patients are under IV (intravenous) fluids and blood tests are performed at specified intervals to check for any immune responses elicited against the graft.

How Long Will The Hospital Stay For A Transplant Surgery?

Transplant surgeries are quite complicated surgeries and demand longer periods of intensive care observation.

The hospital stay may be 6-10 days. In case the graft is obtained from a deceased donor, the hospital stay will be 15-20 days.

What Is Post-Surgical Home Care For Transplant Surgery?

post surgical care

The surgical stitches or staples are removed during the follow-up visit. 

The transplant surgery patients should minimise the physical activities that can possibly pressurize the incision site.

The incision area should be kept dry and clean. Drainage from the incision site, swelling, bleeding, or redness at the incision are signs of infection and should not be neglected.

Fever or increased pain at the incision site can be a sign of graft rejection and should be immediately reported to the concerned hospital. 

Most patients are under high doses of immunosuppressant drugs and have a higher incidence of infections. They are advised to maintain high levels of hygiene and keep away from crowds.

Are There Any Complications Or Risks With Transplant Surgery?

Transplant surgeries are complicated surgical procedures associated with certain life-threatening risks.

The risk of graft rejection makes transplant surgeries one of the riskiest medical procedures. 

Primary graft failure is a major complication where the grafted organ fails to work in the recipient after the transplantation surgery. This happens in graft rejection cases and requires graft removal which is very discouraging for the patient and the surgical team.

Apart from graft rejection, infection is another major risk in transplant surgeries. The patients who underwent transplantation surgery are under continuous dosage of immunosuppressant drugs in order to allow their immune systems to accept the graft without eliciting a rejection response.

There is an equal chance for fungal, bacterial, and viral infections to crop up due to the lowered immune responses because of immunosuppressant dosages. 

The incidence of success depends on the disease stage and the percentage of cross-matching between donor and recipient. 

Top Hospitals For Transplant Surgery In UAE

  1. Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi: This hospital offers a 7-star facility with lavish royal and presidential suites. The laminar airflow system and internationally accepted quality norms here ensure an infection-free and hygienic environment. 

  2. Thumbay Hospital, Ajman: This hospital received the silver award at the Sheikh Khalifa excellence awards and is the Best Medical Tourism hospital in the Middle East. It also provides telecommunication and video consultation facilities for international patients.

  3. Al Zahra Hospital, Dubai: It is JCI and CAP accredited. The high standard of medical facilities and state of art technologies offer the best medical services. It received the 2018 winner in the Annual health magazine awards.

  4. Saudi German Hospital, Dubai: It is the popular and first-choice hospital for international patients. It received Gold certification from Planetree International, USA for its patient-centred care excellence.

  5. Canadian Specialist Hospital, Dubai: It received the award for Best hospital for medical tourism. The services of telemedicine, and international quality standards make it the first-choice hospital for international patients. 

Best Doctors For Transplant Surgery In UAE

  1. Dr. Alya Al Mazrouei: She is an experienced surgeon having 20+ years of experience in performing kidney transplant surgeries, especially for renal failures, glomerulonephritis etc.

  2. Dr. Firas El-Khatib: He is a well-experienced doctor in performing organ transplants for 25 years.

  3. Dr. Biju K Gopinath: He is a leading kidney transplant surgeon in UAE for 20+ years.

  4. Dr. Rakesh Rai: He is a leading transplant surgeon for the liver with 15+ years of experience.

What Is The Cost Of Transplant Surgery In UAE?

The cost for each transplant surgery is different. Since each surgical process is different and the costs depend on various factors like whether it is a partial or a complete organ transplant and whether the transplant is from a living donor or a deceased donor. 

The cost of kidney transplant surgery in UAE is different from that of liver transplant surgery. 

The starting costs of liver transplant surgery in UAE are: 

Treatment name

Starting cost

Liver transplant

USD 30,000

Liver cirrhosis treatment 

USD 2,000

Hepatitis treatment

USD 500

How To Obtain A Medical Visa For Cardiac Surgery In UAE?

A UAE-registered and certified medical service-providing hospital where the patient is aspiring to undergo cardiac surgery has to raise an appeal to the UAE’s visa-issuing authorities. 

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreign affairs (GDRFA) issues the Patient Entry Permit for Dubai.

For the other seven Emirates of Arab, the visa-issuing authority is the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA).

A patient has to plan their medical travel within 60 days of obtaining the UAE patient entrance permit and can stay for up to 90 days.

  • A single entry permit visa allows a single entry into UAE for obtaining treatment.

  • A multiple entries visa allows multiple entries each with a maximum of 90 days. 

  • In case the patient requires an extension of stay, the medical service provider is required to provide valid documental proof explaining the patient's medical condition and the necessity of an extended treatment plan. 

What Documents Should A Patient Produce During The Visa Process? 

The patient is required to produce the following documents:

  • Valid passport.

  • Medical letter from the hospital intending to provide medical treatment.

  • Medical insurance proof.

  • Documental proof of financial stability.

Is Choosing UAE For Transplant Surgery A Good Decision?

UAE is definitely a good option for transplant surgery for patients around the globe. Transplant surgeries are quite complicated surgeries that require high expertise and precision in surgical procedures. 

A major hindrance to the survival rate in transplant surgeries is infections. The immunocompromised stage of the operated patients attracts pathogenic infections. The quality standards in operating procedures and a highly sanitised hospital environment are one way to minimise infections.   

The UAE's healthcare system is patient-friendly and the ultra-modern hospitals in UAE are equipped with highly advanced equipment.

Considering the increasing global transplant surgery needs and the usual success rate of operating procedures in the UAE,  it is an ideal option for patients to choose UAE as a destination for transplant surgeries.

Role Of Vaidam Healthcare

Vaidam has been helping medical travellers from different countries to get the best treatment in the best hospitals in different nations including the UAE. To get support from Vaidam’s team, you are free to raise a request quote.


The United Arab Emirates is blessed with high-quality medical care hospitals. Patients from across the globe can choose it as a terminus for transplant surgeries. 

Because of its high-standard medical approaches, quality medical facilities along with hospital-driven medical visa process UAE is a very good medical tourism destination for patients across the globe.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the life expectancy after a heart transplant surgery?

Ans: 85% of patients can live for 2-3 years while 60% of patients show a survival rate of up to 5 years.

Q2. Which organs cannot be transplanted?

Ans: The brain is the only organ that cannot be transplanted.

Q3. What is the recovery period for transplant surgery?

Ans: It takes around 5-6 months for a complete recovery after transplant surgery. 

prathyusha Author Name
Last updated: 24 Jan 2023

Prathyusha IVSN is a science enthusiast. She is passionate about advancements in biological sciences and loves to communicate the same by writing.

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