Risks

Living kidney donation does not change a person's overall life expectancy, nor does it affect a person's ability to have children. There are some risks involved but these can usually be effectively managed.

  • Short term physical risks.These risks are related to the surgery to remove the kidney and are common to any kind of major surgery:
    • Mortality (Death) - extremely rare, about three people for every 10,000 surgeries
    • Major complications - may include allergic reaction to anesthesia, collapsed lung or blood clots
    • Minor complications - may include pneumonia, infection, pain and discomfort

  • Longer-term physical risks. These are minor risks which should not cause any long-term health problems, and may include:
    • Slight increased risk of high blood pressure
    • Slight increased incidence of kidney failure
    • Possibility of injuring the remaining kidney - the kidney that remains grows larger to do the work formerly done by two kidneys; it becomes heavier, thus making it more vulnerable to injury. After donation, contact sports should be avoided.
    • Slight risk of developing a disease of the remaining kidney

  • Possible psychological difficulties. Most donors feel very satisfied with the decision to donate. They also report a higher quality of life, which may be related to a greater sense of self-worth following the donation. Other donors may experience some psychological difficulties, but these are only a possibility and do not happen to everyone. Members of the healthcare team (doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and living donor coordinators) are available before, during and after the donation and transplant surgeries to discuss any difficult thoughts and feelings.




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