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Living kidney donation is a gift of life

Almost 45 of every 100 kidney donors are living donors. Locating a living donor match can significantly shorten the wait time for a kidney transplant. Kidneys from living donors also typically function much longer with lower rejection rates than kidneys from deceased donors. Learn more about our Living Kidney Donor Team and the process to donate.

Kidney Transplant Surgery

What to expect

During kidney transplant surgery, the transplant surgeon places the donor kidney in the lower abdomen and connects it to the arteries and bladder.

Original, nonfunctioning kidneys usually are not removed unless there are special medical reasons, including:

  • Certain congenital diseases
  • Excessive protein loss
  • Infection
  • Tumors
  • Uncontrollable high blood pressure
  • Presence of cancer

Your transplant surgeon and kidney specialist, or nephrologist, will tell you if your nonfunctioning kidney will be removed.

Kidney transplant surgery takes about three or four hours, depending on your condition. Patients who have had previous surgeries may require longer surgeries because of scar-tissue accumulation.

After kidney transplant surgery

You may spend 24-48 hours in intensive care and the rest of your hospital stay in transplant care, typically 5 to 10 days. Your transplant team will carefully monitor your progress and your new kidney.

In most cases, the new kidney begins to produce urine immediately after it's supplied with blood, reaching normal functioning levels anywhere from 3 to 15 days after surgery. Additional medications or dialysis may be necessary until your kidney begins to function normally.

As you prepare for discharge, your nephrologist and transplant coordinator will give you instructions for taking medications, tell you the warning signs of transplant failure and give you a schedule for your follow-up care.