Since the number of nephrons is as large as almost one million in each kidney, a person can survive even with one kidney. However, in case both the kidneys are damaged, it is difficult to remain alive.
Modern technology can now save such patients with the help of new techniques like dialysis and kidney transplant.
A tube is inserted in an artery in the patient’s arm or leg. The tube is connected to the kidney machine. This plastic tube has two membranes so as to form one tube within the other.
In the inner tube flows blood from patient’s artery. This blood is surrounded by fluid (dialysis fluid) in the outer tube, separated from it by the membrane of the inner tube. Wastes move out of blood into the fluid. The blood cleaned of its waste goes back from the kidney machine into the vein in the arm or leg and back into the body. The dialysis fluid carrying waste is removed from the machine. This technique is termed dialysis.
Nowadays, a surgeon may sometimes remove a non-functioning kidney from a patient and replace it with a kidney donated by another person. Care, however, has to be taken so that a foreign kidney gets accepted by the body of the recipient.