When you receive a kidney transplant, the kidney will be placed in the lower abdomen.  It may be placed on either side.  The donor kidney's blood vessels will be connected to your blood vessels.  The donor ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) will be connected to your bladder. A small catheter called a urinary stent will be placed across the connection to provide support. The incision will be closed with staples.  The surgery takes 3-4 hours.  
When you wake up after surgery, you will have intravenous lines (IVs) in your neck and arm(s). This allows us to give you enough fluids to keep up with the large amounts of urine usually made by the new kidney. You will have a catheter in your bladder to drain the urine, which prevents pressure on the surgical connection between the ureter and bladder.  You may notice blood in the urine. This is from the surgical connection in the bladder.  Sometimes clots can form and block the catheter tube.  If this happens, the nurse will need to flush it. 

You will have medicine to help with the pain so that you can move around more comfortably.

The first 24-48 hours will be very busy.  Your nurse will check your blood pressure, temperature and pulse often.  He/she will check your urine output and adjust your IV fluids.  You will be asked to take deep breaths often.  You will be taught to use a breathing exerciser.  It will measure how deeply you breathe and will open up all areas of your lungs.  Using this will help prevent pneumonia and speed your recovery.  You will be out of bed the day after surgery and walk as often as possible while you are in the hospital.

Early each morning your nurse will draw your blood and weigh you.  This will need to be done so the doctors and nurses have the information they need to plan your care for the day.

You will be in the hospital for about 5-7 days.  After the first few days you will begin to feel better.  You and someone from your family will need to learn about your medicines and the signs of rejection.  You will be given a binder of information to help you.  (If you are reading this book to someone who isn't able to read, please let someone on the transplant team know so we can help.)

Before you go home, you will need to show that you are able to:

  • Read a thermometer
  • Take you own blood pressure
  • Record all values in your transplant diary
  • Learn to take your medicines correctly
  • Make changes in your medication record accurately
  • Monitor fluid intake and urine output
  • Weigh yourself
  • State signs and symptoms of rejection and infection
  • Pass a basic transplant test