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Kidney Transplant Surgery

The transplant surgery will be done by a team of surgeons who specialize in transplantation. In related transplants, a team of two surgeons will remove one of the donor's kidneys and another team of two surgeons will transplant the kidney into you, the recipient. The surgical procedure takes approximately three to four hours. If you are to have a cadaver transplant, the kidney will be removed from the donor and prepared for transplantation. The new kidney is placed in the lower abdomen.

You can expect to be in the hospital for about two weeks. During this time, it is important to closely monitor the new kidney and to adjust medications. Daily blood and urine specimens will be obtained and x-rays, along with other routine tests, may be necessary to monitor kidney function.

Your Transplant Physician

Your transplant physician will be caring for you on a daily basis while you are hospitalized. Each day the doctor will check the results of your laboratory tests and x-rays. Members of the transplant team may also visit you daily to check on your progress, discuss your care and any new tests, treatments or changes in medications.

It is important for you to ask your transplant physician any questions you may have and to report any changes in how you feel. A helpful way to remember all your questions and concerns is to write them down, or ask a family member to write them down for you. Family members are reminded that this can also be a somewhat stressful time for them. They, too, will have questions and concerns to talk over with the physicians and transplant team.

After Surgery Medications

Following discharge from the hospital, you will need to attend the Transplant Clinic at Mercy Health Saint Mary's. The clinic visits are scheduled at intervals determined by your physician. This close medical follow-up is essential to watch for any complications or signs that the body might be rejecting the new kidney.

Following the transplant, you must take very powerful drugs in order to suppress the body's natural attempt to destroy or reject the new kidney. These drugs include Prednisone, Sandimmune (Neoral), and Imuran. They are taken in very high doses at first, because the chances of rejection are greatest at that time. The doses are slowly reduced, but never discontinued. It is important for you to be aware of the side effects that may occur, since each of the drugs contribute to a decrease in the body's resistance to infection. Side effects will be discussed by your physician at the time of evaluation.