Kidney Transplant

Transplant Surgery for Kidney Donors

A new kidney, renewed health

Recipients and their donors often wonder what happens during the transplant surgery. The transplant center staff will explain this in detail, answering any questions you may have. In general, both the donor and the recipient are admitted to the hospital the morning of the surgery. On average, the surgery takes about four hours and patients spend three to seven days in the hospital.

What happens during surgery?

Shortly before going into surgery, medicine is given to the patients to help them relax. A general anesthetic is then given. The donor and recipient are in adjoining operating rooms. The surgeon removes the donor kidney, flushes it and inspects it before it is taken into the recipient’s room. The recipient’s  surgeon connects the renal artery and vein of the new kidney to the recipient’s artery and vein. This creates blood flow through the kidney, which makes urine. The ureter, or tube coming down from the donor kidney, is sewn into the urinary bladder. Often, the new kidney will start working right away. Sometimes, it takes several days for the donated kidney to “wake up.”

Recovering from surgery

Transplant donors and recipients usually return to normal activities within four to eight weeks. Until then, there should be no heavy lifting while recovering. Donors may take mild pain relieving medications for several days after surgery.

For additional information or to begin a kidney transplant evaluation, call .

Ambrose Perkins

Ambrose Perkins was an active father and grandfather. He enjoyed his job as a bus driver, and he especially loved fishing, spending much of his free time with a rod and reel. When hypertension caused his kidneys to fail, Ambrose's doctors told him a transplant was his best bet for a normal life. Because none of his family members were donor candidates, he went on the waiting list for a donor organ. One day, as Ambrose told his boss about his condition, his friend and co-worker, Kim Monroe, overheard and offered to donate her kidney. Ambrose thought she was kidding. But Kim made an appointment to be evaluated as a donor and drove to Barnes-Jewish for an extensive work up. It turned out that Kim's kidney was a close match for Ambrose. On Nov. 15, 2005, Kim underwent a mini-nephrectomy - a minimally invasive donor procedure developed at Barnes-Jewish, and Ambrose received her healthy kidney. Both were out of the hospital within a week. Thanks to the skill of his doctors, the support of the transplant center team, and the generosity of his co-worker, Ambrose is reeling in fish once again.


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