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About Living-Donor Kidney Transplant at UPMC in Central Pa.

The transplant surgeons at UPMC in Central Pa. use minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to perform donor surgery. This reduces the amount of discomfort the donor will experience.

Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy

This approach uses small scopes and instruments (through three to four very small incisions on the abdomen) to free the kidney. The kidney is then removed thru a small incision a few inches below the donor's belly button. This procedure results in very little pain or discomfort for the donor, a very short hospital stay and a rapid return to normal activity. Most donors are ready to return to work and normal activity within four weeks of surgery.

Download the Pre-Operation Instructions for Donor Nephrectomy (PDF)

After Surgery

After surgery, donors can expect to be hospitalized for two to three days and can expect to return to work and regular activity by about four weeks after surgery.

After your surgery you will have a few activity restrictions to follow:

  • Most donors can return to work within four weeks after surgery. Depending on the type of work the donor does, they may need to be off work for up to 8 weeks
  • You must not lift anything over 20 pounds for six weeks.
  • You are not allowed to drive for two weeks following surgery.

You will not have any dietary restrictions and will not need to be on any medications related to the donation. After your incision(s) have healed, you should experience no difference in your energy level, ability on the job, life expectancy, susceptibility to illness or sexual functioning.

The transplant team at UPMC in Central Pa. is committed to the long term health of our living kidney donors. In order to ensure that donors remain as healthy as possible after donation, they will need to be seen in our transplant clinic at four weeks, six months,12 months and 24 months after surgery. Data on living donation is collected by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and is available here.

Kidney Function After Donation

Immediately after kidney donation the donor's kidney function is temporarily reduced by half until the remaining kidney compensates for the missing kidney. This takes approximately two to four weeks. After the initial phase of recovery, the donor’s kidney function will be 65-75 percent of function prior to donation, which is more than adequate to support the donor's needs.

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Need more information? Call 877-778-6110

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