Potential kidney donors have been asking what to expect afterwards. Becoming a living donor does require a work up and a surgical procedure, but the surgical procedure to donate a kidney has evolved over the years. Laproscopic surgery with just 3 or 4 tiny incisions in the abdomen has become the standard procedure for donation in most transplant centers around the USA.
With laproscopic surgery, the donor can usually be discharged from the hospital in 1-2 days and can return to work shortly thereafter depending on the donor’s job. As with all surgical procedures, there is a small risk of complications but most can be managed by the hospital physicians. The transplant team will work hard to prevent these complications.
The donor will be discharged with pain medication and typically stool softeners but will only have to take them during the immediate recovery period. The kidney donor should be able to return to normal activities – including exercise – approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery (we personally know someone that donated a kidney and quickly went back to running marathons!). There are no dietary restrictions after kidney donation that were not present before the surgery. For women, it is still possible to get pregnant but it would be best to wait for 3-6 months after the donation to let your body adjust to having one kidney.
While it is a big decision to donate a kidney, living donors can save lives. If you think it might be something that you are interested in, you can help by calling us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening on being a living donor. You can also call the St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly to do the screening at 832-355-4100. Just tell them your planned recipient is Dominique (Nikki) Brooks.
A living donor candidate is a person who is healthy, well-informed and makes a voluntary decision to donate one of their kidneys. Living donors must be over 18 and in good general health, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 30, a non-smoker, with no evidence of significant high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or hepatitis.
Thanks for helping us find a living kidney donor. Please spread the word and/or call us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening or St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly at 832-355-4100 for me, Dominique Brooks.
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Dominique (Nikki) Brooks