A kidney transplant is one of the most common organ transplant surgeries performed today. In this surgery, kidneys that aren't working well are replaced by a kidney from a donor. Kidney transplants have been performed since the 1950s. This surgery is a lifesaving choice for thousands of patients with endstage kidney disease (kidney renal failure). If you have kidney failure and cannot have a transplant, dialysis can sustain life. Dialysis cleans the blood by removing waste products such as urea.