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The Surgery

The Call
When a donor kidney (kidney/pancreas) becomes available, the transplant coordinator will call you. The coordinator will tell you:

  • When to come to the hospital
  • When to stop eating or drinking anything
  • Tell the coordinator if you are on any blood thinners
  • Bring a form of identification and insurance cards in

The Admission Process

Before surgery you will be admitted to the hospital. There are certain things that will he done to make sure you are ready for surgery. These are:

  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • A history and physical

You will also have an IV started (a needle put into a vein). You will be given immunosuppressive medications and medications to protect you from infection. Two of your family members may stay with you until you go to surgery. While you are in surgery they can wait in the surgical waiting area in the main lobby. The transplant surgeon will talk to them when the surgery is over.

Surgery and Post-Operative Recovery

The kidney transplant surgery usually takes about two to three hours. The new kidney will be placed in the left or right groin area. The renal artery and vein of the new kidney will be attached to the blood vessels that take blood to and from your legs. The ureter of the new kidney will then be attached to the bladder, so it can drain urine from the new kidney. After surgery you will be taken to the transplant unit (4100). You will be attached to a heart monitor and will have a special IV line to monitor and give fluids. You will also have a catheter in your bladder to measure the urine output from the new kidney. The average length of stay in the hospital after kidney transplant surgery is about four to six days.

The kidney-pancreas surgery takes about four to six hours. After the new kidney has been transplanted, the pancreas, which is attached to a small piece of bowel (the duodenum), is then sewn to your bowel. This allows the pancreas to drain directly into the bowel. When the surgery is done you will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU). After surgery, you may have a breathing tube in your mouth to assist you with breathing. In the ICU you will be attached to a heart monitor and will also have a special IV line to monitor and give fluids. In addition, you will have a catheter to drain the urine from the new kidney. The length of time you stay in the ICU depends on your overall medical condition. The remainder of your recovery will be on the transplant unit (4100). The average hospital stay after kidney/pancreas surgery is seven to fourteen days.