Living Kidney Donation
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Services and Treatments

Living Kidney Donation

Live donors are recommended whenever possible for patients needing kidney transplantation. Kidneys from live donors provide earlier and better long-term function compared with deceased donor kidneys. Removal of a single kidney in an otherwise healthy individual is safe and reliable with very low risk to the donor. Live donors must be of compatible blood type with the recipient, free of major medical problems and able to give uncoerced consent to donate. They are evaluated by a dedicated live-donor coordinator, nephrologist and a donor advocate who is a family medicine doctor. In addition to office visits and examinations, we require blood tests and imaging tests to complete the donor evaluation.

Because no surgical procedure is without risk, an extensive education process is provided to the donor, and the donor may opt out at any time. Donors are not financially responsible for the costs of hospitalization for the donation.

A significant surgical advance, the laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, is particularly beneficial for the live donor. In the past, a large muscle-cutting incision and the removal of a rib caused a rather long hospital stay and recovery. Now, the minimally invasive laparoscopic technique requires only three to four tiny incisions the size of a fingertip plus one slightly larger incision to remove the kidney. This surgical procedure causes less scarring and discomfort for the live donor, a shorter hospital stay of one to two days and a quicker return to normal activities within two to four weeks. We perform virtually all the live donor kidney procedures at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Transplantation using the laparoscopic technique.

Read the story of Patricia McDonough, our Living Donor Transplant Coordinator who donated a kidney to save her brother's life.