The Transplant Operation

All the preparation and testing have led you to this moment. If you have a living donor, your surgery will be scheduled. 

If you are on a waitlist for a deceased donor, you could be called at any time when an organ becomes available. Learn about kidney donors and wait lists

Transplant Operation: What to Expect Before Surgery

  • After the admissions process, you will receive a hospital gown and a name band. We will perform a physical exam, as well as take your temperature, weight, pulse, and blood pressure. Other testing will include an EKG, chest X-ray and blood tests. 
  • If you are still undergoing dialysis, and are due for a treatment, this may occur before the operation. An IV will be placed in your arm as well as in your neck. We will start some medications before you leave for the operating room.
  • Once in the operating room, anesthesia will start, which will make you comfortable and bring on sleep.  
  • A tube (Foley catheter) will be inserted into your bladder allowing us to measure your urine output during and after surgery.  The catheter will be removed 4-5 days after surgery. 
  • A small tube (nasogastric or N.G. tube) may be put through your nose into your stomach to help prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery and is usually removed before you wake up. 

Kidney Transplant Surgery

The surgery takes 3-6 hours.  The new kidney will not be placed where your own kidney lies.  It will be placed on the right or left lower part of the abdomen just above the groin area.  Here’s how your surgeon will transplant your new kidney: 

  • Your surgeon attaches the blood vessels of the donor kidney to your own blood supply and the ureter to your bladder. 
  • A stent is placed in the ureter between the kidney and the bladder to ensure the ureter does not narrow or close while healing.  The stent will be removed in the Urology outpatient clinic 4-6 weeks after the operation. 
  • Your surgeon closes the muscle and skin incision using staples or sutures, which are removed during a follow-up clinic visit.

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