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kidney donation

The Risk of Being a Living Kidney Donor

The Risk of Being a Living Kidney Donor

kidney donationThe Risk of Being a Living Kidney Donor is minimal but there are questions you should ask and weigh before you donate a kidney.

Kidney donation is generally considered safe. If the effects of the surgery and process will pose harm to the kidney donor, a donation isn’t likely to push through. No matter how urgent the situation is, the safety of both donor and recipient is always a top priority.

To assess the possibility of a live kidney donation safely, there are two things you have to consider:

During surgery


Because organ donation is categorized as a major operation, it doesn’t come completely risk-free. Some of the most common risks associated with the procedure involve pain, infection, and possible bleeding.

However, to minimize the chances for these complications, rigid and strict physical, mental and emotional assessments are done prior to the surgery. You’ll also be oriented to the things that should be expected before, during and after the operation. These steps allow your health care team to be prepared in case anticipated problems do happen. Proper screening will also make sure you don’t have any health condition that can be aggravated by donating one of your kidneys.

When making a decision, it’s essential that you consider every detail the transplant team discusses with you. Even if you’re healthy enough to donate, if you’re mentally or emotionally unprepared, it will still be your ultimate call.

Aside from these preparations, you also have to consider which type of surgery you want to have. You can choose between:

Open nephrectomy

This is most commonly referred to as the traditional way of getting a kidney removed. It involves a 15 to 20 cm long incision and two to three hours of surgery.

Laparoscopic of keyhole surgery

Unlike nephrectomy, this procedure involves a few small incisions where instruments are inserted and a larger cut to remove the organ. It entails longer surgical time but shorter recovery period.

After Surgery


After the procedure, you’ll be required to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. If you underwent traditional nephrectomy, you’ll have to remain in the hospital for around five to seven days. In case you chose keyhole surgery, it will take a shorter hospitalization time. Full recovery for donating a kidney typically happens between two to 12 weeks, depending on your progress.

For a few weeks, the surgical wound should feel sore and a bit painful. After some time, they should start to feel numb with occasional drawing sensations. Permanent scarring, however, should be expected.

In general, people who have donated one of their organs have the same quality of life and long-term survival rate as the rest of the population. Even your risk for renal failure is the same as with those people who didn’t donate. Although there are studies that suggest an increased blood pressure and passing of protein in the urine after donation, they don’t always happen. In fact, with annual post donation checkup, such complications among living kidney donors are unlikely to develop.