What happens during kidney donation surgery?

How living kidney donation surgery is done depends on the donor's anatomy. Transplant surgeons remove the kidney either through open surgery (nephrectomy) or laparoscopic surgery (laparoscopic nephrectomy).

Some centers remove a donor's kidney using conventional surgical procedures with an open incision, but all kidney removal procedures (nephrectomies) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital are performed laparoscopically. For anatomical reasons, the left kidney is usually the one that is removed for transplantation. Surgeons perform the procedure using tiny instruments that are inserted into three or four small incisions, called ports, in the abdomen. The laparoscopic technique benefits donors by significantly reducing post-operative pain, reducing scarring, and shortening recovery times: on average, kidney donors spend two days in the hospital and can return to their normal activities within three weeks.

Continue Learning about Kidney Donation

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.