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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 .

UNOS Match Paired Transplant

Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire participated in the first UNOS-coordinated match paired organ transplant. Find out more about the concept and how it changed the life of a St. Louis couple.

 
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