People can lead a normal life with only one kidney. As long as the donor is thoroughly evaluated and authorized for donation, they will be able to lead a normal life after surgery. When the kidney is removed, the individual normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donor kidney. If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to improve or save someone else's life.
Both you and the recipient of the kidney (the person who received it) can live with only one healthy kidney. In some cases, having been a kidney donor may affect the donor's ability to obtain both health insurance and life insurance. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that people considering donating obtain this type of insurance before becoming a donor. Most living kidney donors stay in the hospital for zero to one day.
Depending on what you do for the job, you may return to work as soon as two weeks or as late as eight weeks after surgery. You should also not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the first six weeks after surgery. The motivations of each donor can vary greatly and each donor has a unique experience as they go through the process of donating their kidney, from the initial decision to be evaluated as a potential donor to years after the donation occurs. Since the mid to late 1990s, advances in surgical techniques have dramatically improved cosmetic outcome following live kidney donation.
You should also meet with a psychologist and an independent living donor advocate to make sure you are mentally and emotionally prepared to donate one of your kidneys. Some studies have indicated a slight increase in the incidence of ESKD after donation among certain groups; in particular black donors, younger donors, donors genetically related to their recipients, donors related to recipients with immunological causes of kidney failure, and donors with overweight. However, transplants from living donors are more successful compared to kidneys from deceased donors because these kidneys come from living donors. If you're healthy, donating a kidney won't increase your chances of getting sick or having major health problems.
In laparoscopic surgery on a donor kidney, the surgeon makes small cuts in the donor's stomach and the kidney is removed through an incision large enough to fit. People who receive kidneys from living donors are healthier and live longer than those who receive kidneys from deceased donors. Like any surgery, kidney donation carries the risk of surgical complications, such as blood clots and others, but these risks are low. I hadn't met anyone in my life with kidney problems, or who needed an organ transplant, but I knew that only one kidney is needed to live.
Usually, the recipient's kidneys stay in place and the surgeon connects the donor kidney to the renal blood flow. It may take three to five years for a person on the kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. If you have drug or alcohol abuse problems, you may not be able to donate your kidney because of the way alcohol affects you. You may not be compatible with your intended recipient, but you may be eligible for a compatible partner through which you can donate to a stranger, and that stranger's intended donor kidney would be compatible with your intended recipient.
The University of Kansas Health System has an experienced kidney team that manages kidney transplant care before, during and after surgery.