Meet Dr. Rebecca Rojas
Kidney transplant specialist in Dallas
Rebecca Rojas, M.D., guides her patients through the transformation of a lifetime.
As part of a team of nephrologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center devoted to evaluating and caring for kidney transplant patients, Dr. Rojas accompanies her patients on the journey from the rigors of end-stage kidney failure back to living a full and healthy life.
Getting patients off dialysis is a major motivation in her work.
“Unfortunately, kidney dialysis is a way of life for many patients,” she says. “And while some patients are not good candidates for transplant, there are many others that are safely transplanted. Transplantation for these patients offers the opportunity to live a fuller, healthier life. Helping patients move through that process is something I really enjoy.”
Many patients with end-stage kidney failure have diabetes and high blood pressure. These chronic, systemic conditions can create a host of health problems, which may mean that some patients with these illnesses are not ideal candidates for transplant.
“A kidney transplant is not a risk-free procedure,” Dr. Rojas says. “Our goal is to safely transplant patients. We put them through a thorough evaluation. We want to transplant patients for whom the benefits of transplantation outweigh the risks.”
Once her patients are placed on the transplant list, Dr. Rojas sees them at least once a year while they wait for a donor. With more than 100,000 patients on the national waiting list and the average wait time in Texas at about three to five years (with exceptions), it’s important that she is there to manage any complications that come up before transplant. She continues to care for many of these patients after the procedure as well.
“Post-transplant, I see my patients frequently,” she says. “I become their primary doctor for the first year, following them closely after transplant to make sure the transplant succeeds."
Dr. Rojas goes on to remind us about the importance of and advantages of living donation.
“If there is a living donor available the transplant can be done when both the potential recipient and donor have been approved, thus shortening the wait time significantly.”
Kidney transplant patients who have a living donor can also typically expect their new kidney to last longer than those who have received a kidney from a deceased donor.
“Hypertension and diabetes can be made worse by some of the medications we use to prevent rejection of their new kidney,” Dr. Rojas notes. “And those are the exact conditions that may have led many of our patients to be on the transplant list. We are pretty aggressive about managing these medical issues so that we can keep the transplanted kidney healthy for as long as possible.”
But it’s not just taking care of the kidney, Dr. Rojas says. “On our team, we spend a lot of time over many years with our patients; we become close with them, and the goal really is for our patients to succeed and be healthy overall.”