What to expect after surgery
Once you arrive to your hospital room, the assigned nurse will assess your pain level and give you pain medications. The anesthesia and/or the surgery itself may make you feel nauseated. We will do everything we can to keep you comfortable.
The morning after surgery, you will be walking around, eating a regular diet, and have your urinary catheter removed. Most patients are ready for discharge home by the second day after surgery.
Issues that may arise after kidney donation surgery
Pain is to be expected with any surgery. We will use IV and/or Patient Controlled Analgesics (PCA) for pain control. Side effects of these pain medications can include nausea and severe constipation. To help avoid these complications, we will work with you to be off IV pain medicines by the first day after surgery. You will receive oral pain medications after and at the time of discharge if you need them.
Sore throat is likely caused by the breathing tube that was placed during surgery. This usually gets better within the first 24 hours, and can be treated with over-the-counter medications if needed.
Almost all post-operative fevers in donors are a result of poor respiratory effort. Atelectasis is the collapse of certain portions of your lung, and can lead to pneumonia. To help prevent this, we will ask you to use an incentive spirometer to deep breathe. We will give you an incentive spirometer immediately after surgery and show you how to use it.
While urinary retention is rarely seen, it is more common for men than women. Your nurse and our team will be regularly checking the amount of urine you are making. If we notice that there is not enough urine output and/or you cannot get any urine out, we may have to replace your urinary catheter. Urinary retention usually resolves prior to discharge.
- Bleeding requiring blood transfusion
- Surgical complications resulting in emergency open conversion
- Injury to adjacent organs
- Wound infection
- Hernia formation requiring surgical intervention
St. Vincent is very proud of our living kidney donor program and outcomes. As of this date, no donor has stayed in the hospital longer than 3-4 days for medical reasons, and no donor has returned to the operating room for any surgical complications.