Before surgery

What to bring to the hospital

For convenience during your hospital stay, consider the following suggestions.

  • Bring a current list of your medicines, including the dosages and the times you take them.
  • If you have a health care directive document (living will), bring a copy.
  • Bring personal care items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, denture cleanser, comb, skin care products, deodorant, make-up and/or shaving kit.
  • If you wear glasses or contacts, bring storage containers for them. Put your name on each container.
  • If you wear hearing aids, bring a storage container and extra batteries. Put your name on the container.
  • If you want to wear a gown or robe other than what the hospital supplies, bring your own.
  • Bring shorts or undergarments to wear under your hospital gown or robe.
  • Bring clothing to wear home, including socks, shoes (supportive with nonslip soles), undergarments, shirt and loose pants or a sweat suit. Bring a warm coat if it's cold outside.
  • Leave valuables at home or with your family. You may want to bring a little money for buying newspapers or magazines.
  • All rooms have a television and phone. You may want to bring a book or magazines.

What you may want to think about if you live alone

For convenience, consider the following suggestions.

  • Find someone to do your yard work.
  • Arrange to have your paper and mail delivered to your door rather than curbside, as needed.
  • Arrange transportation to the grocery store, community events, family activities and doctor and clinic appointments.
  • Find someone to help care for your pet, if needed.
  • Prepare and freeze a few meals before your surgery.

Anesthesia information

General anesthesia puts you to sleep so you do not feel the surgery. An anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will give you the anesthesia.

The anesthetic (type of medicine used) affects your entire body. You will receive the anesthetic by breathing it or through an injection (shot). A breathing tube helps you breathe oxygen while you are asleep. The anesthesiologist or CRNA stays with you during the entire surgery.

After surgery, you may have a few side effects from the anesthesia. They are:

  • dry mouth
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • nausea
  • drowsiness.

What to do the day before surgery

Tell your doctor if you have any changes in your physical condition (sore throat, cold, fever, dental problems, urinating problem) or skin condition (rash, cuts). Surgery may need to be canceled.

Learn about Food and Liquid Directions Before Surgery.

What to do the evening before surgery

Areas to wash
  • Do not eat a heavy meal the evening before surgery.
  • Take the first dose of anti-rejection medicine (if you are having surgery for a living donor kidney).
  • Take a shower or bath with a special soap. Washing your skin with this soap removes any bacteria on the skin. It also helps prevent infection around the incision. To clean your skin, use the following steps:
    • Do not use the soap on your face.
    • Wash your rectum and genital areas last.
    • Rinse the soap with plain water.
    • Dry yourself with clean towels.
    • Do not put lotion on your skin after cleansing.
  • Do not eat or drink any liquids - even water - after midnight. Your surgery can be delayed or canceled if you don't follow this instruction.

What to do the morning of surgery

  • Take your morning medicine(s) as directed. You may have to take your medicine(s) with a small sip of water.
  • Take a shower (or bath) with the special soap.
  • Arrive at the hospital two hours before your surgery.

When you go to the hospital

  • If you are getting a kidney from a deceased donor, the final cross-match will be done the day of surgery.
  • If you have a living donor, both you and the donor will have a final cross-match at your pre-surgery visit one week before surgery.
  • Dialysis will be arranged, if you need it before surgery.
  • You will have a physical.
  • You will wait until the result of the cross-match is known. If the result is negative, you can have the surgery that day. If the result is positive, surgery will be canceled.
  • You and family will be taken to the Pre-Operative Care Center.
  • You will be taken to a surgery prep area where you will get ready for surgery.
  • You will wear a hospital gown.
  • You will meet with the medical members of your transplant team, such as the surgeon, nurse and anesthesiologist (doctor who gives the anesthesia).
  • The nurse will start an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm.
  • You will receive medicines through the IV to help you relax.
  • The anesthesiologist will give you a general anesthesia to put you to sleep.
  • You will be taken to the operating room.
  • Your family will be taken to the waiting area.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Kidney Transplant Information for Recipients and Donors, renal_ahc_93498
Reviewed By: Allina Patient Education experts, including the Transplantation Department of Abbott Northwestern Hospital
First Published: 05/15/2009
Last Reviewed: 05/15/2009