After Kidney Donor Surgery

Postoperative Care of the Donor

Once the surgery is complete you will be taken to the Recovery Room where nurses will monitor your condition as you awaken from the anesthesia. A breathing tube will be in your mouth attached to a ventilator and you will not be able to talk.

Once you are fully awake, the breathing tube will be removed and you will be able to talk. This is typically within 24 hours. You will also have a catheter in your bladder to drain urine, a nasogastric tube in your stomach to drain stomach contents, and intravenous catheters. These will be removed gradually during the next 24 hours.

When your condition stabilizes you will be transferred to the postoperative unit where there will be a nurse in the room to take care of you and the other patients at all times.

You will be given pain medications as needed and will be transferred to a regular floor bed usually by the next day. Again the average length of stay (in an uncomplicated case) for a laparoscopic surgery is about 2 days, and for a conventional surgery about 5 - 7 days.

Going Home

After either a laparoscopic or conventional donor nephrectomy, it is not anticipated that you will have any prolonged problems related to the surgery.

Following discharge from the hospital you will continue to see the transplant surgery team in the outpatient clinic. The first week after hospital discharge you will be seen in the clinic and may have your staples removed (if applicable). We will also review your lab work at this time. You will be followed in the clinic periodically as needed.

Returning to Work

Depending on your occupation and the type of nephrectomy performed, you will be able to return to work or school within 1-2 months from the surgery without restrictions. Disability papers will be completed for you during your period of unemployment.


You will not be required to take any new medication after the surgery. Pain medication will be prescribed for you if you experience some pain or discomfort in the immediate postoperative period.


You will have no dietary restrictions after the surgery.


After you return home you should gradually return to your normal activities. You will be restricted from lifting objects heavier than 25 pounds (for the first month) until your incisions are fully healed. Avoid straining and heavy lifting for one month. Walking is advised and you are encouraged to gradually increase the distance each week.