Some donors have reported long-term problems such as pain, nerve damage, hernia, or intestinal obstruction. These risks appear to be rare, but there are currently no national statistics on the frequency of these problems. Before donating an organ, serious thought should be given to the future consequences of the donor's health and general well-being. Studies do not indicate significant long-term risk to the donor.
Even so, donation should not be taken lightly. There may be a slightly higher risk of developing high blood pressure. This usually happens in donors over the age of 55 at the time of donation. There is also a very small risk of developing kidney failure.
This is usually related to the development of kidney disease that was not present or anticipated at the time of donation and was not directly related to the kidney donation itself. 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. By donating a kidney, you will lose some of your overall kidney function. However, the kidney you still have will start working harder (about 30%) to compensate for it. It is recommended to have blood pressure checks and blood and urine tests every year at your annual checkup with your family doctor.
But not everyone can donate a kidney. A rigorous evaluation is required and potential donors often have many questions about their eligibility and how the donation will affect their health in the future. Let's review some of the frequently asked questions, as well as the risk factors and benefits of living kidney donation. 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.
Most kidney donation procedures are now performed laparoscopically, which means that the surgeon will reach the internal organ of the body through several tiny cuts. If you're healthy, donating a kidney won't increase your chances of getting sick or having major health problems. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation discourages people who need a transplant from asking outright: Will you give me a kidney? We encourage people to tell their story and talk about what it would mean to get a kidney instead of asking directly, says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, medical director of the foundation.
Living kidney donation cannot happen without a team of diverse specialists who are as passionate about the program as they are about patient care. 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 general, kidney donation has minimal long-term risks, especially when compared to the health risks of the general population. Reese said that living kidney donors can do much to minimize their short- and long-term health risks after donation.
To date, she's been eight months post-op and has returned to her normal routine while serving as a wonderful advocate for live kidney donation. In addition, you will be checked carefully to make sure you don't have any health problems that could worsen with a kidney donation. Since the mid to late 1990s, advances in surgical techniques have dramatically improved cosmetic outcome following live kidney donation. Nothdurft himself became a donor 3 years ago, when, at 27, he donated a kidney to the stepfather of a close friend.