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I would like to know a bit about the operation

Usually the donated kidney will be placed just above the crease of the groin on either side of the body.

The side of the operation will be chosen by the surgeon and depends on any previous operations, the quality of your blood vessels in the groin or the length of the blood vessels on the donated kidney. The length of the scar will depend on the size of the patient, size of the kidney and depth of the blood vessels, which can be very variable.

The artery and the vein of the new kidney are joined to a large artery and vein in this area called the iliac vessels (pronounced i-lee-ak). These vessels go on to supply the muscles of the leg and are usually very robust. Your surgeon may ask you about how far you can walk and other related questions to ascertain the quality of the blood supply. Sometimes a special ultrasound scan (called a Doppler scan) may be needed to make sure the vessels are alright.

At the time of the operation an ultrasound probe may be attached to the artery of your new kidney. You and the surgeon can then hear the pulsations in the artery of the kidney transplant. This is usually removed after a few days

The ureter (which drains urine from the kidney) from your new kidney is then attached to the bladder. Often a small plastic tube (called a stent) is inserted into the transplanted kidney through the ureter at the time of the operation to keep the join with the bladder open. Typically this is removed a few weeks later at the hospital through a scope.

At the end of the operation a small drain is left under the muscles, which is usually removed in three to four days. A bladder catheter is also placed and usuallly comes out in five days.

 

What happens to my new kidney after it has been transplanted?

As soon as the blood flows through the kidney it turns a beautiful pink colour!

The start of kidney function is very variable and depends on many factors. As the kidneys recover from the effects of cold storage they gradually start working. It may be many days before this happens and your doctors will keep an eye on its function with regular blood tests.

Richard's Story


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