Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Donation
Who pays for the kidney donation?
What type of surgery is used to remove the donor’s kidney?
How long do I need to recover from donation surgery?
What is the evaluation?
What can I do before being evaluated for living donation?
What are the risks of donating a kidney?
What will life be like after kidney donation?
Costs for the evaluation, the kidney transplant procedure and hospitalization are paid by the recipient’s Medicare or personal insurance. However, medical issues that might develop from the donation may not be covered by the recipient’s insurance.
ChristianaCare uses two surgical techniques: Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Nephrectomy and Open Nephrectomy. With a Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Nephrectomy, a short incision is made in the abdomen to remove the kidney. Two to four other very small incisions are made to accommodate a telescopic camera and other instruments. For an Open Nephrectomy a single incision is required and the kidney is then removed.
Most donors leave the hospital three to four days after surgery. However recovery time varies depending on each individual case. You may be able to get a better estimate at the time of evaluation
Evaluation includes a complete medical history review, physical examination, blood and urine samples and other tests necessary to determine whether it is safe for the donor to proceed. All the information obtained is confidential. During the course of the evaluation, the living donor will meet with the donor team. The donor team includes a surgeon, nephrologist, living donor coordinator, social worker, dietician, and financial coordinator. In order to protect the living donor’s best interests, an Independent Living Donor Advocate (ILDA) – who is not on the ChristianaCare kidney transplant team – will be provided to each donor.
To make sure you are ready for your living donation evaluation, here are a list of items that you should complete before your evaluation appointment.
The major risk is the same risk associated with any type of surgery: complications or death from anesthesia. There is no risk associated with living with just one kidney. People who have diabetes or hypertension, however, may not be good candidates to donate a kidney, because they have a higher risk of facing kidney disease themselves.
It is important that persons who donate a kidney maintain healthy lifestyles and have yearly physicals to monitor their health. For both donor and recipient, living kidney donation is most often a very positive experience.