Texas Transplant Institute is the Nation's #1 Live Donor Transplant Program. More live donor transplants have been performed than any other program in the U.S. since 2009.
The decision to donate a kidney is a serious one for the donor and the recipient. Both are likely to have mixed feelings, which is normal. The recipient may find it difficult to ask a family member or a friend to donate a kidney. At the same time, the donor may be hesitant to offer because they do not know what is involved. The key is to educate a person about organ donation and everything that is involved with this big decision.
The living donor evaluation consists of lab work, diagnostic imaging, and a psychosocial evaluation. It is recommended that the testing take place at the Texas Transplant Institute. Here, the evaluation can be completed in one day by expert transplant professionals. Our scheduling staff will work with the donor to minimize their time away from work. Evaluation results are then reviewed by the donor surgeon and a Chaplain who serves as an independent patient advocate for the donor.
If the donor resides outside the San Antonio area, most of the testing can be arranged at a local hospital. The donor would still be required to visit our transplant center at least once prior to surgery. Once the evaluation is completed and approved by the Transplant Patients' Selection Committee, a transplant date convenient for both the recipient and donor is selected, and the case is scheduled.
One of the most important advances in transplantation is the laparoscopic removal of the donated kidney. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a camera to assist in removing the kidney through a small incision in the abdomen. This technique minimizes scarring and speeds recovery. In some cases, however, it may be necessary for a donor to undergo the traditional "open" procedure for a kidney removal.
Typically, donors return to normal activities within two to six weeks. The entire cost of the evaluation, operation, and follow-up care related to the nephrectomy is usually paid by the recipient’s health insurance benefits.
In spite of technological and medical advancements, the number of people waiting for transplants far exceeds the availability of organs. If you wish to become a kidney organ donor at the time of death, please complete a donor registration card and have your family sign as witnesses. Upon death, your family will be asked for consent to donate your organs, even if you have signed a donor card or your driver's license. Click here to learn how to become an organ donor.
With a critical shortage of organs needed for transplants, sharing your life can make a remarkable difference. Our transplant coordinators are always available to provide information regarding organ donation.