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Nephrectomy (kidney removal)

I'm considering kidney donation. Are there long-term risks?

from Erik P. Castle, M.D.

Research has shown that there's little long-term risk for kidney donation, provided you're carefully screened before becoming a donor. As a potential kidney donor, you'll receive a thorough medical exam to determine whether you're a good match for the potential recipient. And you'll be carefully checked to make sure you don't have any health problems that might be made worse by donating a kidney.

Kidney donation involves major surgery, and there are risks including bleeding and infection. After your kidney is removed (nephrectomy), you'll spend time recovering in the hospital and at home. With time, your remaining kidney will enlarge as it takes on additional blood flow and filtration of wastes.

Your long-term survival rate, quality of life, general health status and risk of kidney failure are about the same as that for people in the general population who aren't kidney donors. Regular checkups, including monitoring of your kidney function and blood pressure, generally are recommended to evaluate your health after kidney donation.

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