Laparoscopic Kidney Removal

In the past, the process of removing a donor’s kidney (donor nephrectomy) involved a long incision and the partial removal of a rib in order to allow the surgeon to access the kidney, blood vessels and ureter. The hospital stay generally lasted 5 days, followed by one to two months of home recovery.

Surgical advances now allow for laparoscopic removal of a donor’s kidney. The surgeon uses narrow instruments inserted through tiny punctures to free up the kidney and tie off blood vessels. A short incision – just over 3 inches long – is made above the pubic bone (the same place as for a C-section, only shorter) to remove the kidney from inside the abdomen. This location causes the least pain of any position, heals extremely well and gives a very good cosmetic result. Hospitalization is reduced to just 1-2 days and most donors return to normal activity in 2-4 weeks.

This minimally invasive solution makes donation easier, which has helped increase the number of living donor organ transplants performed each year.