An incision is made in the lower part of one side of the abdomen, the donor kidney is placed in the recipient, and blood vessels and the ureter from the donor kidney are connected to vessels in the recipient. The recipient's kidney is typically not removed unless special circumstances are identified by the surgeon. Once all connections have been made, the incision is closed.
The kidney or renal transplant surgical procedure takes approximately three to four hours to complete. Because the length of this surgery is different for every patient, families should talk with the surgeon about what to expect.
Postoperative care begins with a team of heath professionals within the hospital. Careful, comprehensive post-surgical monitoring constantly evaluates whether the body is accepting the new organ. In addition, the amount of time you spend in the recovery room, waking up and getting to the point that you're ready to go home, will vary from patient to patient. Because individual experience after recovery is so unique, it is important to discuss with your physician what to expect after surgery.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on August 1, 2003 by UNOS and last modified on October 10, 2003. The following sources were used as references:
National Library of Medicine, retrieved June 1, 2003.
Day, Claire, BS, RN, CCTC and Rose Rivers PhD, RN. Ed. Franki Chabalewski. "Nursing Care of the Renal Transplant Recipient." UNOS Donation and Transplantation Nursing Curriculum. 1996
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