The day before the surgery

When the donor is first admitted to hospital the day before the surgery, he or she undergoes some blood tests and is prepped for surgery.

Before surgery the day of the transplant

As is the case for any surgery requiring general anesthetic, the patient must be fasting.

Two different kidney retrieval approaches are used:

  • A laparoscopic method: less invasive and allowing for a faster recovery, this is the most commonly used method.
  • Less commonly used is the method involving an incision in the lower abdomen.

The length of the surgery depends on the type performed, but it typically lasts two or more hours.

After surgery

After surgery, donors are wheeled to the recovery room and then to their room to be monitored continuously by the transplant team, who will treat them for pain and any complications that may arise.

The average post-op stay in hospital ranges between two and five days depending on each patient’s needs.

Once back home, donors can gradually return to their normal activities. Recovery time varies considerably, but they are generally able to return to their usual routine fairly quickly. Depending on their health, they usually return to work between one and two months after surgery.

A doctor on the transplant team meets with them a few weeks and a few months after their medical leave is over.

After that, donors are examined at the transplant clinic around once a year for a basic health assessment including a blood pressure measurement, a blood test and a urine test.