How long does it take to recover from a kidney transplant?
The length of recovery after a kidney transplant depends on many factors such as:
- Type of transplant procedure
- Acceptance of the new kidney by the body
- Overall health
Each patient may have a different speed of recovery. After the procedure, the patient is shifted to a recovery area where the nurses and doctors observe for signs of complications or organ rejection. The patient is usually discharged from the hospital after a few days or a week and only after the surgeon and transplant team have checked their progress, strength and overall health.
The new kidney will start to make urine like the older ones when they were healthy. Mostly, this occurs immediately but in some cases, it can take a few days. If this happens, patients are temporarily put on dialysis until the new kidney starts to function normally.
The kidney transplant doctor will discuss precautions, such as no lifting heavy objects weighing more than 10 pounds or doing exercise (other than walking) until the wound has healed. It usually takes about six weeks after the surgery.
There will be some soreness or pain around the incision area while the surgical wound heals and will be resolved in a few days. Most patients after kidney transplant can return to work and other normal activities after eight weeks from the transplant procedure. However, how long it takes to return to work after a kidney transplant may depend on several factors, such as speed of recovery, the nature of work you do, and whether you have other medical conditions. Generally, the kidney transplant surgeon and team help in deciding when it is best to resume work or other activities.
The recovery may take some time, but the ultimate results after the transplant are highly satisfactory. The transplant will allow you to have a normal active life, independence from the dialysis and restrictions with diet associated with it.
You must remember to take all your medicines as per the doctor’s prescription. There are chances the new kidney is rejected by the body as the immune system recognizes the organ as foreign. Immunosuppressants or anti-rejection medications help prevent this from happening. So it is important that you do not skip your medications even for a short while.
The anti-rejection medications may have some side effects and you must contact your transplant team immediately in case you experience any of the following:
- Thinning of bone (osteoporosis) or bone damage (osteonecrosis)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- The excessive hair growth or hair loss