After donating a one kidney, the other will grow and compensate allowing the donor to live a full, active life. You must allow ample time to recover from surgery. Most people return to light activity immediately after surgery. Abdominal gas and bloating is common and even some shoulder pain but usually dissipates in a few days. There may be some incisional discomfort. Loose clothing is recommended. No lifting more than 10 to 20 pounds is allowed for 6 to 8 weeks. By this time the incision should be healed and you will be less likely to get a hernia. Walking, stair climbing and light activity is allowed during this time. Driving is prohibited until you have stopped taking all pain medicines and your surgeon permits you to resume driving. You may shower after the first couple days but you should avoid full immersion in the tub for about a week. Your wound will be closed with dissolvable sutures beneath the skin and skin glue.
You will be scheduled for a follow up visit with your surgeon about one week after discharge (about two weeks from the date of surgery). You will also get labs within two weeks after surgery so that we can monitor you. After this, you will be discharged to the care of your primary care physician. Females should wait at least 6 months for kidney function to stabilize before becoming pregnant. You should refrain from sexual intercourse for a couple of weeks until you have less pain and have regained your strength and flexibility. We advise that you not travel outside the United States until you receive clearance from our surgeons.
As part of our Long-Term Follow-up Care Plan, you will be given orders for labs to be done at 2 weeks, 6 months, 12 months and again at 24 months. You should have routine health maintenance checks yearly by your primary care physician, this should include routine chemistry, urinalysis and blood pressure checks. Please send us your results. Transplant Centers are required to report living donor follow-up information for at least 2 years after donation to the United Network for Organ Sharing. If you have specific concerns about complications related to the donation process please contact our center.