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As a kidney donor, you’ll undergo a complete medical and psychological evaluation to ensure your safety and compatibility. If you're not compatible, there are other options available for donation, including paired and chain donor transplantation.
The kidney donor and recipient usually stay in the same unit the night before surgery, then move to separate units after the surgery.
As the donor, you can expect to stay in the hospital for two to three days after surgery. We schedule a follow-up appointment with you one week after discharge, with the focus on wound healing and pain management.
Additional follow-up appointments are scheduled at two months, six months, one year, and two years after surgery.
Donor Candidacy Evaluation
The first step in preparing you to donate a kidney is to determine whether you're a compatible donor.
You'll undergo a thorough evaluation to determine compatibility and ensure your safety.
If the evaluation finds you to be an incompatible donor, there are still options available for donation, such as paired or chain transplantation.
Preparing for Kidney Transplantation
We perform comprehensive evaluations of both the kidney donor and recipient prior to transplantation in order to ensure the safety of both of you.
There are no special courses of treatment you need to go through prior to surgery like the recipient does. You'll be scheduled to arrive at the hospital a day prior to surgery, along with the kidney recipient, to undergo one final evaluation. Normally, you stay in the same unit with the recipient the night before surgery.
For recipients, the hospital course for living donor kidney transplantation is similar to that for patients receiving a kidney from a deceased donor. However, you have the benefit of being able to schedule the date of your surgery. Both donor and recipient are admitted to the hospital one day prior to surgery for final evaluation and testing.
On the day of surgery, the kidney donor undergoes surgery first, with the recipient following immediately afterward.
Kidney Donor Surgical Procedure
Advances in medical technology in recent years have led to increasingly less invasive procedures for kidney donors. More often than not, donor kidneys are removed using laparoscopic techniques.
During surgery, your physician makes a series of small incisions in your lower abdomen and inserts the laparoscope – a tiny tube with a light and a camera – to access the kidney.
Your doctor navigates and inspects the region on a TV-like monitor that receives images from the camera.
The laparoscope images are magnified when they appear on the monitor, allowing your doctor to see even greater tissue detail than he would during traditional surgery.
The major advantage of laparoscopic kidney surgery is that your doctor can now perform the same surgeries that used to require large open incisions with just a few tiny incisions about the size of a dime, and an 8 centimeter incision below your belly button. This reduces pain and scarring, and significantly reduces the length of your hospital stay and the time it takes for you to recover from surgery.
Care After Transplant
After surgery, you and the recipient stay in separate units. Your hospital stay is normally three to five days and we strongly encourage you to have visitors.
Upon discharge from the hospital, we arrange a follow-up appointment for one week after you go home. This outpatient visit focuses on issues of ongoing wound healing and pain management. But within a few weeks, you should be able to return to normal activities and see no changes in your life.