Once you’ve been approved for kidney transplant and a suitable kidney is found, you’ll be prepped for the transplant operation. Whether you have a planned living kidney donation or are receiving a kidney from a deceased donor, knowing what to expect during the surgery can help ease your mind and prepare you for your next steps.
The transplant surgery
Your existing kidneys are not typically removed during transplant unless there is a reason, such as extreme enlargement. Instead, the donated kidney is placed in the front of your lower abdomen. This allows the donated kidney to connect to the appropriate artery and vein, and makes it easier to access should problems arise in the future. The kidney transplant operation takes between two and four hours to complete.
After surgery, you’ll likely spend three to seven days at the hospital in recovery. You will feel a bit sore, but you should be up and moving around within a few days. A kidney from a living donor will start working quickly, but one from a diseased donor may take a few weeks. In that case, you may need to continue dialysis until your body and the kidney are in sync.
Your care team will work with you to teach you about the medications you’ll be taking and changes to your diet. With a kidney transplant, you may find that there are fewer restrictions on what you can and cannot eat.
Your body naturally fights off anything that is not a normal part of it, so it is important to closely follow the instructions for taking your anti-rejection medication. This medicine keeps your body from attacking your new kidney.
Our care team at the Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati is here to guide you through every step of your kidney transplant. If you have questions about the kidney transplant operation and what to expect, please reach out to us at 513-984-3500.