Recovery from Surgery

Your independent donor advocate (IDA) and transplant center staff members are a good source for medical information about the living donor surgery and recovery process.

Please talk with these professionals to understand what to expect, although the surgery and recovery process can differ among living donors. Consider talking with other donors and contacting these organizations for more information.

You can generally expect to stay in the hospital for one to three days after surgery. Most kidney donors return to normal activities after four to eight weeks, depending on the physical demands of your daily living and work tasks. You may not be able to drive for up to two weeks. You may have lifting restrictions for at least six weeks.

Every transplant center is required to have a written protocol for the living donor follow-up process. Talk with your IDA and other staff at the transplant center about their follow-up procedures. Ask for detailed information about office visits, laboratory tests, and other possible requirements following the donation surgery. Attend all appointments to make sure that you are recovering appropriately. The information collected during the follow-up process is critical to help future potential living donors to make informed decisions.

Think about how the donation process may affect your daily activities. Who will serve as your caregiver and support you during your recovery, especially if you have to travel a long distance for the surgery? How much time off will you need from work? How will this affect your caregiving responsibilities such as childcare or caring for an elderly relative?

Source: UNOS Living Donation