Like any surgery, the procedure has some risks. But in general, living kidney donation is safe. In most cases, donating a kidney will not increase the risk of kidney disease, diabetes, or other health problems. Kidney donation involves major surgery and there are risks, such as bleeding and infection.
But the overwhelming majority of kidney donors recover with minimal complications. After your kidney is removed (nephrectomy), you'll usually just spend the night in the hospital and complete recovery at home. Over time, the remaining kidney will enlarge as blood flow and waste filtration increases. For a person who needs a kidney transplant, asking a loved one or a friend is an important request.
Likewise, it is a great gift when a donor agrees. Living kidney donation can be a truly beautiful and bonding experience. And living kidney donation is incredibly safe for donors: less than 1 percent of donors will end up on dialysis in the future, which is only slightly higher than the average risk of a person with two healthy kidneys. There are other risks related to the operation itself, such as infection, bleeding, and pain.
As with any surgery, there may be other, less frequent and unexpected complications. Surgery to donate a kidney has the same risks and side effects that are common with any major surgery. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Many people feel some numbness around the incision.
Most complications don't happen very often and most are treatable. As a kidney donor, the risk of developing kidney failure later in life is no greater than that of a person in the general population of similar age, sex or race. Due in part to new surgical techniques that have shortened recovery times, live kidney donation has become more common in recent years. The motivations of each donor can vary greatly, and each donor has a unique experience as they progress through the process of donating their kidney, from the initial decision to be evaluated as a potential donor to years after the donation occurs.
In addition to these annual checks, the same policies and procedures apply to you that would apply to any other NHS patient; you will not receive any preferential treatment as a result of donating a kidney. 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. If you have kidney failure, having a kidney transplant may mean a longer, healthier life without dialysis. Many donors say they feel better about themselves after they donate, and most say that if they could do it again, they would still choose to donate their kidney.
In general, kidney donation has minimal long-term risks, especially when compared to the health risks of the general population. Living kidney donation cannot happen without a team of diverse specialists who are as passionate about the program as they are about patient care. If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one of your kidneys to improve or save someone else's life. If there is a high risk that a potential donor will develop kidney problems later in life, giving up a kidney today is not a healthy option.
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. This information does not cover detailed medical questions; it is designed to give you general information about donating a kidney based on advice from medical professionals and guidance currently accepted in the UK, based on research available to them. .