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Open Live Donor Nephrectomy


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


The week before your surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home from surgery.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need to have x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, or a renal arteriography.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Bowel preparation will help clean out your bowel before surgery. An enema uses medicine or warm water that is put into your rectum to help empty your bowel. A bowel prep medicine is liquid you drink to empty your bowel. Your surgeon may ask you to use one or both of these methods.

The day of your surgery:

  • Do not eat or drink anything on the morning of your surgery. Your bowel needs to be empty during your surgery. If you need to take medicines, take them with small sips of water. You may need an additional enema the morning of your surgery. You may also be asked to drink more bowel prep medicine.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • Your surgeon will make an incision on your side. A small piece of your lowest rib may be cut to help your surgeon see and reach your kidney.
  • Your surgeon will tie, clamp, or cut blood vessels and tissues. He or she will then remove your kidney.
  • The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with a bandage.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. The bandages used to cover your stitches keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages to check your wound.


  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.


You may get an infection, bleed more than expected, or have trouble breathing. Nerves, blood vessels, muscles, intestines, and other organs may be damaged. Your ureter may be damaged and cause urine to leak out into your body. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.