Living donors have volunteered to give one of their kidneys to a recipient. This generous donation is done through a special type of surgery called a nephrectomy. The word nephrectomy means the surgical removal of a kidney.
Are there different types of donor surgeries?
Donors will have one of three different types of surgery: 1) an open donor nephrectomy, 2) a small front incision retroperitoneal donor nephrectomy, or 3) a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy.
What is an open donor nephrectomy?
An open donor nephrectomy is considered the conventional or traditional type of donor surgery. This surgery requires an eight to ten inch incision in the flank. This surgery uses general anesthesia.
What is a small front incision retroperitoneal donor nephrectomy?
A small front incision retroperitoneal donor nephrectomy requires a four-inch incision in the abdomen. This surgery uses general anesthesia.
What is a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy?
A laparoscopic donor nephrectomy uses four punctures about a half-inch long and one incision about 2 ½ inches long. This surgery is also done under general anesthesia.
How will I know which type of donor surgery is best for me?
Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of all three types of surgery and will advise you on which procedure is the best one for you.
The recipient's surgery requires general anesthesia and will take about three to four hours. The new kidney will be placed in the lower abdomen on either the right or left side. The incision will be eight to ten inches in length and will resemble a hockey stick. The recipient's natural kidneys are left in place unless there is a medical reason why they should be removed. Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of transplantation.
The donor surgery and the recipient surgery require two separate surgical transplant teams which operate in two separate operating rooms. Usually, both surgeries are scheduled in the morning so that they can be completed on the same day.