Home » Health Conditions » Urology » Urinary Problems

Top 10 Scary Facts about Kidney Donation Procedure

  • Kidney organ donation carries same risks as other surgeries
  • If you choose to donate a kidney: top ten scariest side effects of donating a kidney

If you are considering the topic of kidney donation, you must face the fact that it is a very serious surgery. Donating a kidney is not only a physical quest but can affect other areas of your life. Today’s surgery is a lot less invasive than in days gone by, but there are still the same serious health risks as in any surgery. What are the top ten scariest facts and side effects of donating a kidney?

Kidney Donation

1) Before you donate a kidney

Potential kidney donors undergo a complete medical history and physical examination to evaluate their suitability for donation. Extensive blood tests are performed on both donor and recipient. The blood samples are used to tissue type for antigen matches, and confirm that blood types are compatible. A panel of reactive antibody (PRA) is performed by mixing white blood cells from the donor and serum from the recipient to ensure that the recipient antibodies will not have a negative reaction to the donor antigens. A urine test is performed on the donor to evaluate his kidney function. In some cases, a special dye that shows up on x rays is injected into an artery, and x rays are taken to show the blood supply of the donor kidney (a procedure called an arteriogram).

2) You may not be considered for kidney organ donation

Age is an important factor for the donor. Kidney donation organizations warn their patients that the age of the donor might not be in the best health interests if the donor is too old.

3) Infection and bleeding

As with any surgical procedure, the kidney transplantation procedure carries some risk for both a living donor and a graft recipient. Possible complications include infection and bleeding (hemorrhage). The most common complication for kidney recipients is a urine leak. In approximately 5% of kidney transplants, the urethra suffers some damage, which results in the leak. This problem is usually correctable with follow-up surgery.

4) Donate a kidney – recuperate for 2-3 weeks

You will likely be able to return to work 2-3 weeks after the surgery, depending on the type of work. However some donors require a longer recovery period if their work requires heavy lifting or other physical demands.

5) Developing high blood pressure or osteoporosis through kidney donation

The biggest risk to the recovering transplant recipient is not from the operation or the kidney itself, but from the immunosuppressive medication he or she must take. Because these drugs suppress the system, the patient is susceptible to infections such as cytomegalovirus-virus (CMV) and varicella (chickenpox). The immunosuppressants can also cause a host of possible side effects, from high blood pressure to osteoporosis. Prescription and dosage adjustments can lessen side effects for some patients.

6) Immune suppression = cancer risk ?

Following kidney transplantation, some recipients may face a 3-fold increased risk of certain cancer types, according to a study in the December, 2007 issue of JAMA.

Immune suppression after organ transplantation is associated with a markedly increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma. Whether other cancers occur at increased rates is uncertain, because there have been few long-term population-based studies, according to background information in the article.

7) What happens immediately after the kidney is removed?

Once removed, kidneys from live donors and cadavers are placed on ice and flushed with a cold preservative solution. The kidney can be preserved in this solution for 24-48 hours until the transplant takes place. The sooner the transplant takes place after harvesting the kidney, the better the chances are for proper functioning.

8) Make sure you keep the best kidney

It is automatically decided that the donor keeps the better of the two kidneys. You might want to confirm with the surgical staff and medical provider as to exactly how that’s done and how can the donor be given that guarantee.

9) Side effects of donating a kidney might be your future insurance coverage

A recent article that evaluated data on a donor’s ability to obtain life, disability, or health insurance after surgery found that the majority of donors surveyed did not experience any problems. However, the article indicated that a small percentage of donors reported some difficulty with their insurability. All donors are encouraged to check with their insurance companies to verify their policy.

10) Kidney organ donation = you are responsible for your bills

Living donors are financially responsible for their routine annual health maintenance testing (e.g., pap smear, mammogram, colonoscopy, etc.) or medical clearance that may be required for pre-existing conditions. However, all other testing required for the living donor evaluation as well as the hospitalization costs and physician services provided during the donation process are covered either by recipient’s insurance or the University of Maryland Medical Center. Donors will be provided with a special billing form that they will need to present during their testing and hospitalization, rather than their private health insurance information. Transplant-related complications are covered for at least 90 days.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

7 Responses to “Top 10 Scary Facts about Kidney Donation Procedure”

  1. 1
    deepika Says:
    I want to donate my kidney to doctor so just wanted to know that if i will donate both of my kidneys so how much amount i will get after donating. Wot will happen with my body, means how many days or few minutes i will be in living stage..................
  2. 2
    Roy Hardy Says:
    Sorry forgot to inform that I am stay in Jakarta - Indonesia annd no problem to send to my email royhard60@yahoo.com
  3. 3
    Roy Hardy Says:
    I am 61 years old.... Blood Type : O/ Rh + Blood pressure 80/120. For 20 years never seen the Doctor because I am Healthy, My Weight for years 65 Kg, Waist Size 31. Never drink alcohol, only water more than 2 litres per day for 20 years.... Look younger than my age. still do my hobby.... hiking, camping... travelling/ drive a car nonstop 12 hours still ok. It is possible for me to donate my kidney ?????? Thanks a lot and Warm Rdegards,
  4. 4
    Roy Hardy Says:
    I want to be a Kidney Donor
  5. 5
    surbhi jain Says:
    i want to know wheater we can donate after death any type of accidental or medical injuries.. if anyone know please reply.
  6. 6
    Miss Manju Says:
    I want to be a kidney donor
  7. 7
    Paul Amador Says:
    My sister Laura Amador and I have been apart of a coast to coast kidney paired exchange program involving a altruistic donor, Max Zapata. It is absolutely incredible there are individuals with a high degree of self-sacrifice to donate a kidney to anyone, giving a gift of life; a second chance to live. Considering I am a kidney donor, UCSF 06-25-09, i feel just as good as before the operation.