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Open Live Donor Nephrectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

Open live donor nephrectomy is surgery to remove a kidney for transplant to another person. Open surgery is done through 1 incision in your side.

Kidney, Ureters, Bladder


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have trouble having a bowel movement or urinating.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, has pus coming from it, or the stitches have come apart.

Call your surgeon or nephrologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have blood in your urine.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Bowel movement softeners may be given to help prevent constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


Avoid doing intense physical activities, such as heavy lifting, pulling, and pushing. You may also need to limit your movements, especially bending your back. Ask when you can return to your normal activities.

Care for your surgery area as directed:

  • Do not let your stitches get wet unless your healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask when you can bathe, shower, or swim. Do not soak in a hot tub or bath tub until your surgeon says it is okay.
  • Wash the area carefully with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. You may have medical tape on your incision. Keep the tape clean and dry. As it starts to peel off, let it fall off by itself. Do not pull it off.

Follow up with your surgeon or nephrologist as directed:

You will need to return to have your wounds checked and the stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.