Discharge Instructions for Kidney Donors

Discharge Instructions for Kidney Donors

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Discharge Instructions for Kidney Donors

You gave one of your kidneys to save someone’s life. This was a wonderful gift. Most kidney donors live normal lives with one kidney. Once you recover from surgery, you will be able to return to your normal activities. Here's what you need to know about home care after surgery.

Incision care

  • Shower as needed beginning 2 or 3 days after surgery. Gently wash your incision (cut from surgery) with soap and water and pat dry.

  • Don’t soak in a bath until your incision is healed (2 weeks).


  • Don’t drive for 4 weeks after surgery or while taking pain medications containing narcotics.

  • Avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks after your surgery.

  • Always lift objects safely, with your legs, not your back.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the first 4 weeks after your surgery.

  • No pushing or pulling heavy objects for 4 weeks after surgery. Don’t push a stroller, grocery cart, or vacuum cleaner. Don’t pull a wagon, garden hose, or golf club carrier.

  • Don’t play any contact sports for at least 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. Check with your doctor before you start exercising.

  • Resume sexual activity when you feel able.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to seek medical care

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Cloudy or smelly urine

  • Urge to urinate more often than usual

  • Burning when you urinate

  • Little or no urine output or blood in your urine

  • Pain that gets worse or isn’t relieved by treatment

  • Pain in or around your wound

  • Warmth, redness, or swelling in the skin around the wound

  • Wound that opens up or pulls apart

  • Fever above 101.5°F (38.6°C) or shaking chills

  • Nausea or vomiting