How long to recover from a kidney transplant?
Recovery after a kidney transplant includes a few days of hospital stay, during which the medical team ensures that the new kidney is functioning well and look out for the symptoms of rejection of the transplanted kidney. Hospital stay for a kidney transplant recipient is usually 5-7 days if there are no complications.
However, the length of stay will depend on the medical condition and needs. The patients may stay for a short while in intensive care before being moved to the specialized transplant care unit. The new kidney usually begins working immediately, but sometimes, it may take a few weeks before it starts to function properly.
The kidneys donated by family members are known to start working faster than those donated by unrelated or deceased donors. Patients are given painkillers to manage the pain around the incision site and heal properly.
They also need to take immunosuppressant medicines to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney. The doctor will also give instructions for aftercare and medication routine, and these need to be followed strictly during the recovery.
The doctor will advise the level of physical activity that should be undertaken while recovering. A specialized transplant care team will coordinate with the patient and their family to ensure they heal properly after the hospital stay. Most patients are able to get out of bed the day after surgery.
Before going home, the team will give information about the schedule for medication, lab tests and follow-up visits. For the transplant to be successful, it is important to have regular checkups, especially during the first year after the transplant. They may also need to have regular blood tests, mostly several times a week. Gradually, there are fewer checkups to make sure that the new kidney is working well and ensure the correct dosage of anti-rejection medication in the body.
The long term success of a kidney transplant depends on several factors, including:
- Following the instructions given by the transplant team and visit the specialist on scheduled appointments
- Take the prescribed dosage of anti-rejection medications daily at the right times, as directed by the transplant team, to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney.
- Follow the recommended schedule for blood tests and clinic visits to make sure that the kidney is working properly.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet, exercise, and weight loss, if needed