National Donor Day: How Kidney Donation Works

Celebrate National Donor Day (February 14th) and give hope to people suffering from kidney failure. Almost everyone is born with two kidneys, but did you know we really only need one? One kidney is more than sufficient to handle the load of your body, so donating to someone in need will not affect your overall health or well-being.

Save a life when you become a kidney donor

Let’s learn how kidney donation works, so you can decide if it’s right for you.

Testing

Before you are approved to donate a kidney, doctors need to conduct medical, surgical and psychological assessments. These tests ensure donors are healthy enough to donate a kidney, have healthy kidneys, and are mentally and physically prepared for donation. Some of the tests include: urine, blood, glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and extensive kidney testing.

Meet the transplant surgeon

If you’ve successfully passed each of the tests, you will meet with the surgeon to discuss the donation, details of the operation, and possible surgery dates.

Determine compatibility

Next, more blood work is taken to assess your tissue type and blood group. This information helps surgeons match you to a potential recipient. They take every precaution to ensure a successful transplant.

Meet an independent assessor

An independent assessor ensures you completely understand the risk of the process and are making an informed decision. They are also there to ensure you are not being coerced or forced into donating your kidney. This person is in charge of clearing you for surgery, so it’s important to answer his or her questions carefully and honestly.

Final testing

Additional blood tests are taken a week or so prior to surgery to reconfirm compatibility and ensure nothing has changed that could affect the outcome of the surgery.
The testing process can take a few months to complete because everyone involved wants to ensure the best possible outcome for both the donor and recipient. Once complete, it is time for surgery.

The surgery

This procedure is most often performed via laparoscopic surgery to help reduce the length of recovery time for the donor. While you are under general anesthesia, the transplant surgeon will make three small incisions to gain access to and detach the kidney. Next, a small incision (approximately 15 cm long) is made to ease the removal of the kidney. Immediately following removal, your kidney is transported to the recipient and prepared for transplantation.

If you or someone you know is in need of expert kidney care, contact South Texas Renal Care Group at (844) 739-2897. Our physicians will help you navigate your options and treatment.