Can You Get Your Kidney Back After Donating It?

From a medical standpoint, the act of returning an organ that has ever been donated (hereinafter referred to as organ restitution) is not allowed if serious safety issues arise due to the return of the organ. Cumulative cases of reuse of transplanted kidneys have been reported. People can lead a normal life with only one kidney, as long as the donor is thoroughly evaluated and authorized for donation. When the kidney is removed, the individual's normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney.

Becoming a kidney donor may slightly predispose you to some health problems that could lead to the need for a kidney transplant later in life. After surgery, you should be able to return to your normal diet soon. Unless you have other health problems, you probably don't have specific dietary restrictions related to your procedure. If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to a person with kidney failure.

If you have kidney failure, having a kidney transplant may mean a longer, healthier life without dialysis. Usually, the recipient's kidneys stay in place and the surgeon connects the donor kidney to the renal blood flow. Donor nephrectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a healthy kidney from a living donor for transplant to a person whose kidneys are no longer working properly. In other words, previous kidney donors get a “priority status” to receive a donor kidney if they need it.

If you want to be a living donor, you will need to undergo a medical examination with blood tests to make sure you are healthy enough to donate a kidney. Donating a kidney or any other organ can also cause mental health problems, such as symptoms of anxiety and depression. The University of Kansas Health System has an experienced kidney team that manages kidney transplant care before, during and after surgery. However, if you have recurrent kidney stones, this could interfere with the body's ability to filter waste with 1 kidney.

People who have kidney disease are often placed on the waiting list for kidney transplantation to become organ recipients. But what if that gift didn't have to end with the initial transplant recipient? What if healthy organs could save more than one life? For some who are on the waiting list for kidney and liver transplants, that dream could become a reality because certain transplanted organs can now be donated and retransplanted. If you have drug or alcohol abuse problems, you may not be able to donate your kidney because of the way alcohol affects you.Living donation does not change life expectancy and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. Talk to your transplant team about any pre-existing conditions or other factors that may put you at increased risk of developing kidney disease, and consider them carefully before making a donation decision.

AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions most at risk, to support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease, from prevention to life after transplant.

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