UNM Health System has the longest running kidney transplant program in New Mexico, having performed thousands of such operations since its founding in 1977.
In 2016 there were 36 kidney transplants performed at UNM Hospital, 30 from deceased donors and six from living donors. As of April 2017 there are 247 patients awaiting kidneys at UNM Hospital, and 85 percent of these patients are minorities.
The transplant center also offers laparoscopic donor nephrectomy for living kidney donors. This minimally invasive surgery results in a shorter hospital stay, less pain and scarring for the donor and better outcomes for the recipient. A kidney from a living donor offers patients an alternative to years of dialysis and time on the national transplant waiting list. (The living donor's remaining kidney will enlarge, doing the work of two healthy kidneys.)