This period refers to the time that a patient is on the deceased donor waiting list or prior to the completion of the evaluation of a potential living donor. The recipient undergoes testing to ensure the safety of the operation and the ability to tolerate the anti-rejection medication necessary after transplantation. The type of tests varies by age, gender, cause of renal disease, and other concomitant medical conditions. These may include, but are not limited to.
The transplant surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The operation usually takes 2-4 hours. This type of operation is a heterotopic transplant meaning the kidney is placed in a different location than the existing kidneys. (Liver and heart transplants are orthotopic transplants, in which the diseased organ is removed and the transplanted organ is placed in the same location.) The kidney transplant is placed in the front (anterior) part of the lower abdomen, in the pelvis.
The original kidneys are not usually removed unless they are causing severe problems such as uncontrollable high blood pressure, frequent kidney infections, or are greatly enlarged. The artery that carries blood to the kidney and the vein that carries blood away is surgically connected to the artery and vein already existing in the pelvis of the recipient. The ureter, or tube, that carries urine from the kidney is connected to the bladder. Recovery in the hospital is usually 3-7 days.