The living kidney donor usually undergoes this procedure laparoscopically. This usually involves one large and two to three smaller incisions. Most transplant centers will have the donor stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days following surgery. The donor is allowed to drink liquids in a few hours following the operation and most donors can eat a regular meal the next day. The donor gets out of bed on post-operative day 1 and is usually walking in a day or so. Most patients will have some pain over their incisions for which they receive intravenous pain medications, which is then changed to oral pain medications before discharge.
Upon discharge, most patients will have some tenderness and itching over their incisions. The incisions should be carefully watched for redness, increasing tenderness, any discharge or unexplained fevers, in which case, the transplant center should be contacted right away to be evaluated for wound infections. Donors are set up for post-operative follow up in two to three weeks after discharge. They are generally restricted from lifting anything heavy or from strenuous activity till the first post-operative visit. There are no dietary restrictions and the donors are encouraged to going back to their healthy lifestyle habits. Most people can get back to doing light exercise in the first week which can be advanced once the pain improves and the donor starts to feel more energetic.