Living donation is major surgery. All complications of major surgery apply. These include:
- infection at the incision site
- incisional hernia
- blood clots
- potential need for blood transfusions
- side effects associated with allergic reactions to the anesthesia
The best source of information about risks and expected donor outcomes is your transplant team. In addition, it’s important to take an active role in learning more about these potential surgical risks and long term complications:
Long-Term Organ Specific Donor Complications
- Kidney failure
- Short bowl syndrome
- Small bowel obstruction
- Weight loss
You may also have negative psychological symptoms right after donation or later. You and/or your recipient may face surgical complications. The transplanted organ may not work right away. There is also the chance it will not work at all. Donors may feel sad, anxious, angry, or resentful after surgery. Donation may change the relationship you have with the recipient.
Living donors must be made aware of the physical and psychological risks involved before they consent to donate an organ. You should discuss your feelings, questions and concerns with a transplant professional and/or social worker.
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 February 25, 2005 by UNOS and last modified on December 28, 2011. The following sources were used as references:
United Network for Organ Sharing. (2011). What Every Patient Needs to Know [Booklet]. Richmond, VA: United Network for Organ Sharing.
Barr ML, Belghiti J, Villamil FG, Pomfret EA, Sutherland DS, Gruessner RW, Langnas AN, Delmonico FL. A report of the Vancouver Forum on the care of the live organ donor: lung, liver, pancreas, and intestine data and medical guidelines. Transplantation. 2006 May 27; 81 (10):1373-85.
A Report of the Amsterdam Forum on the Care of the Live Kidney Donor: Data and Medical Guidelines. Transplantation. 2005 Mar 27; 79 (6):S53-S66.
This Web site is intended solely for the purpose of electronically providing the public with general health-related information and convenient access to the data resources. UNOS is not affiliated with any one product nor does UNOS assume responsibility for any error, omissions or other discrepancies.