Center for Transplantation

Post Transplant Surgery

After your kidney transplant, you can expect to:

  1. Spend a few days to a week in the hospital. Doctors and nurses monitor your condition in the hospital's transplant recovery area to watch for signs of complications. Your new kidney will make urine like your own kidneys did when they were healthy. Often, this starts immediately. In other cases it may take several days. Expect soreness or pain around the incision site, while you are healing.

  2. Have frequent checkups as you continue recovering. After you leave the hospital, close monitoring is necessary for a few months. Your transplant team will develop a checkup schedule for you. During this time, if you live in another town, you may need to make arrangements to stay close to the transplant center.

  3. Take medications for the rest of your life. You will take a number of medications after your kidney transplant. Drugs called immunosuppressants help keep your immune system from attacking your new kidney. Additional drugs help reduce the risk of other complications, such as infection, after your transplant.

Results

After a successful kidney transplant, your new kidney will filter your blood, so you will no longer need dialysis. To prevent your body from rejecting your donor kidney, you will require medications to suppress your immune system. You will likely take these or similar drugs for the rest of your life. Because medications to suppress your immune system make your body more vulnerable to infection, your doctor may also prescribe antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medications.

Kidney transplant survival rates
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network:

  • About 98 percent of people who receive a living-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 90 percent live for at least five years.
  • About 94 percent of people who receive a deceased-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 82 percent live for at least five years.

If your new kidney fails, you can resume dialysis or consider a second transplant. You may also choose to discontinue treatment. This important decision depends on your current health, your ability to withstand surgery and your expectations for maintaining a certain quality of life.