After the surgery you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you may be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) or your hospital room. Kidney transplantation usually requires an in-hospital stay of several days.
A kidney from a living donor may begin to make urine immediately, but urine production in a cadaver kidney may take longer. Until urine output is sufficient, dialysis may be required.
You will have a catheter in your bladder to drain your urine. The amount of urine will be carefully measured to evaluate the new kidney's function.
You will receive IV fluids until you are able to take in adequate food and fluids.
Your immunosuppression (anti-rejection) medications will be closely monitored to make sure you are receiving the optimum dose and the best combination of medications.
Blood samples will be taken frequently to monitor the status of the new kidney, as well as other body functions, such as the liver, lungs, and blood system.
Your diet will be gradually advanced from liquids to more solid foods as tolerated. Your liquid intake may be restricted until the new kidney is fully functional.
You may begin physical activity by the day after the procedure. You should get out of bed and move around several times a day.
Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
Nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, physical therapists, and other members of the transplant team will teach you how to take care of yourself once you are discharged from the hospital.
Once you are home, it is important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. The stitches or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up office visit.
You should not drive until your physician tells you to. You should avoid any activity or position that causes pressure to be placed on the new kidney. Other activity restrictions may apply.
Notify your physician to report any of the following:
- Fever, which may be a sign of rejection or infection
- Redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the incision site
- Increase in pain around the incision site, which may be a sign of rejection or infection
Fever and tenderness over the kidney are some of the most common symptoms of rejection. An elevation of your blood creatinine level (blood test to measure kidney function) and/or blood pressure (monitored by your physician) may also indicate rejection. The symptoms of rejection may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Consult your transplant team with any concerns you have. Frequent visits to and contact with the transplant team are essential.
Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.