Recovery in the hospital

  • You will feel tired. This is your body's reaction to the surgery and the anesthesia.
  • You will have pain and discomfort around the incision. You will be encouraged to get up in the chair, walk and do deep breathing exercises. You may have pain medicine as you need.
  • The nurse will remove the Foley catheter a few days after surgery and the IV when you are drinking enough fluids.
  • You will stay in the hospital for about four to five days.

How soon the donated kidney will start working

Most often, a kidney donated by a living donor begins to work right away.

Sometimes, the donated kidney may need many days or weeks to start working. (That delay is known as acute tubular necrosis.) If that happens, you may need dialysis. Chances are high that the donated kidney will start to work in a few days.

Recovery at home

  • If you are traveling a long distance home by car or plane, talk with your surgeon and kidney transplant coordinator for instructions.
  • You should be able to return to your normal activities in about 10 to 14 days.
    • You may have some discomfort and itching at the incision site.
    • Avoid heavy lifting (anything heavier than 10 pounds) for six weeks after surgery.
    • Stop any activity that causes pain.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions.
  • If your doctor gives you a prescription for pain medicine, follow the directions.
  • You will receive instructions for your care at home. If you have any questions, call 612-863-5638.
  • About six to eight weeks after surgery, the urologist will remove the stent. The nurse at the Transplant Clinic will schedule the procedure. He or she will give you instructions. The procedure takes only a few minutes. It is similar to having a Foley catheter inserted.

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

  • If the new kidney does not work right away after surgery, this situation should last only a little while. If you need dialysis, the social worker will make arrangements for you. More information on complications.
  • If you need dialysis after you leave the hospital, the social worker will make arrangements for you.