A kidney transplant is surgery to give you a healthy kidney from another person. The new kidney may have come from someone you know, a stranger, or a person who has died. You need only one healthy kidney to live.
Your belly and side will be sore for the first 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. You also may have some numbness around the cut (incision) the doctor made. You may feel tired while you are healing. It may take 3 to 6 weeks for your energy to fully return.
After the transplant, you must take medicine to keep your body from rejecting the new kidney. You will need to take anti-rejection medicine every day for the rest of your life. These medicines have side effects. One side effect is that your body may be less able to fight infections. It is important that you take steps to avoid infections. Stay away from crowds of people and anyone who might have an infection or an illness such as a cold or the flu.
Your new kidney may start working very soon after surgery, or it may not begin to work well for a few weeks. If your kidney does not begin to work right away, you will need to have dialysis until the new kidney is able to take over.
Having an organ transplant can bring up many emotions. You may feel grateful and happy. But you also may feel guilty or depressed. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. If you think you are depressed, ask your doctor for help. Treatment can help you feel better.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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