Being a living donor
Types of transplant surgery
There are 2 main types of surgery:
The doctor uses a wand-like camera placed in 2-4 small cuts in your belly. It lets doctors view the kidney and take it out through a small cut. The doctor will then stich the cuts closed.
The benefits of this type of surgery include:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Shorter recovery time
- Smaller cuts
- Fewer post-surgery problems
2) Open surgery
The doctor cuts open your belly to take out the kidney. Then, they close the cut with stitches.
After your kidney is removed, the transplant surgical team connects the kidney into the transplant patient’s body right away.
Living donor kidney transplant surgery
Watch this video about living donor surgery.
What happens after donation surgery?
In the first weeks after surgery, you’ll need to arrange a caregiver to help you with daily activities.
2-4 days after surgery
Recover in the hospital. You’ll feel pain from surgery. Doctors will give you pain medicines and stool softeners.
1 week after
You’ll need to rest while you heal.
2-4 weeks after
You’ll feel much better. Most donors can drive and return to their normal lives at this point.
4-6 weeks after
You can return to exercising, though you should probably avoid sports that can cause physical harm, such as football
6-12 months after
If you are a woman who plans to get pregnant, wait until this point to discuss this with your doctor. This gives your body time to recover from surgery and adjust to 1 kidney.
After the first year
You may need to go back yearly for 1-2 years for a check-up.
Many donors give a kidney to someone they live with. If you’re donating to someone in your home, you’ll need someone else in your home to help both of you heal.
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