If you have a living donor, you'll schedule the operation in advance. You and your donor will be operated on at the same time, usually in side-by-side rooms. One team of surgeons will perform the nephrectomy-that
is, the removal of the kidney from the donor-while another prepares the recipient for placement of the donated kidney.
The operation is different depending on whether it is done by "open or by laparoscopy." In either case, an incision is made into the person's side, the blood vessels to the kidney are tied off, and the ureter
(tube from the kidney to the bladder) is tied off and the kidney is taken out. Typically patients recover from laparoscopic surgery within a week and from the open surgery within a couple of weeks.
You'll be given a general anesthetic to make you sleep during the operation, which usually takes 3 or 4 hours. The surgeon places the new kidney inside your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein
of the new kidney to your artery and vein. The ureter from the new kidney will be connected to your bladder. Your blood flows through the new kidney, which makes urine, just like your own kidneys did
when they were healthy. Unless they are causing infection or high blood pressure, your own kidneys are not removed.
Often, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as your blood starts flowing through it, but sometimes a few weeks pass before it starts working.
As after any major surgery, you'll probably feel some pain when you wake up. However, many transplant recipients report feeling much better immediately after surgery. Even if you wake up feeling great, you'll
need to stay in the hospital for about a week to recover from surgery, and longer if you have any complications.