Kidney Transplant Surgery | Transplantation Surgery | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Kidney Transplant Surgery

For patients undergoing living donation, the date and time of your operation will be coordinated with you and your donor.

You will come to the hospital on the morning of your operation. We ask that you do not eat anything after midnight and take your medicines with only a sip of water. Next, you will be prepared for your surgery in our same day surgery center and will begin taking immunosuppression medications. You will then be taken to the operating room for your transplant.

For those patients waiting for a cadaveric donor, you will be contacted once a kidney becomes available. The transplant coordinator will call you, make sure you are in good health, and tell you what time to arrive at the hospital. You should have nothing to eat or drink until your transplant. Upon arrival, you will be examined and will begin taking your immunosuppressant medications.

Regardless of the donor type, the kidney transplant operation is the same. First, the recipient is placed under general anesthesia. When the patient is safely asleep, the transplant surgeon makes an incision on the right or left side of the lower abdomen, just above the groin.

The surgical team will then place the donor kidney into the abdomen and connect the kidney's blood vessels to the recipient's iliac artery and vein, which supply the leg. The surgeons will then connect the ureter (the duct that carries urine) to the bladder. A Foley catheter in the bladder is also used to drain urine and allow the bladder to heal. The surgeon may place a small tube (a stent) within the ureter to insure proper healing. This stent is removed six weeks after surgery by a urologist. In addition, a small drain, called a Jackson Pratt (JP), is occasionally placed into the abdominal cavity to drain any excess fluid.

You will be in the hospital for a minimum of three days. You may need to stay longer if a problem occurs and further treatment is needed. You can eat on the day after surgery and you will be expected to walk around on the same day. You will be discharged when you can eat and drink, your pain is well controlled with pain pills, and the kidney is functioning well.

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