Becoming a Living Kidney Donor at Medical City Dallas
One of the greatest gifts a person can give.
Volunteering to be a living donor is a generous act. The transplant waiting list continues to grow, outpacing the available organs from deceased donors. Donating a kidney is a major decision, and no one should feel pressured into acting as a living donor. Potential donors should be sure to carefully consider their decision.
Our team of specialists performed the first living donor kidney transplant at Medical City Dallas hospital in 1999. The first heart-kidney transplant at this hospital was conducted in 2001.
Our physicians, nurse coordinators, and staff are highly skilled experts in the management of end-stage kidney disease. All patients receive the attention they deserve thanks to our individualized care throughout all phases of transplant.
How does someone qualify to be a living donor?
Candidates considering kidney donation should complete a New Donor Screening Form and a Living Kidney Donor Medical and Personal History Screening Form to be submitted to our transplant coordinator. The potential donor’s insurance is verified, and then our transplant team evaluates a series of blood tests to determines whether the candidate’s kidney is a good match. If the results indicate a match, the donor will undergo further testing.
What indicates a good match?
The most successful matches come from immediate family members since they share many similar genes. However, matches are possible from extended family, friends, coworkers, and even altruistic donors. The success rate of living kidney donor kidneys, no matter what the relationship, is significantly greater than those from deceased donors.
Who pays for the living donor’s tests and surgery?
The recipient’s insurance will pay for the workup process, surgery, and post-surgery clinic visits. Donors are responsible for their own transportation, lodging and any lost wages. Medical City’s Donor Advocate is available to answer any questions related to expenses and potential financial resources.
What is the next step after a successful match?
Our Living Donor Coordinator will schedule a surgery date that is convenient for you. Usually, a donor will be seen a few days before surgery for final evaluations and tests to ensure that his or her kidneys are functioning correctly.
How is laparoscopic nephrectomy different from the traditional kidney donation operation?
A laparoscopic nephrectomy is a less invasive surgical procedure used for living kidney donation. Donors are usually up a few hours after surgery and return to normal activities within two to three weeks. Other advantages of this less invasive procedure include fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay, less pain and better cosmetic results. However, if a traditional open-nephrectomy surgery is necessary; our surgeons at Medical City have an extensive background in these procedures as well.
What can donors expect before and after the operation?
The donor is taken to the operating room where a general anesthetic is used throughout the surgery. Immediately afterward, the removed kidney is taken into another operating room to be transplanted in the recipient. Often the kidney begins to function in the recipient before the donor is in the recovery room. The donor procedure usually lasts about three to four hours.
What happens during the recovery time?
Recovery can be different for each patient. The donor is usually hospitalized for three to five days. Donors typically return to work four weeks after the surgery. All heavy lifting and strenuous activity should be avoided for about six weeks.