Living Donor Transplant

Many times, organs used for transplant surgeries are harvested after a person dies. There are some organs and tissues however, that can be donated from someone who is living. This is called a living donor transplant. Vidant Health offers living donor transplants for kidneys.

Ideally, the potential donor and recipient have compatible blood types. (There is a process however, that can be used for some patients whose donors have an incompatible blood type. This is called kidney exchange.)

A living kidney donor must be sure of his or her decision to donate and be in excellent health physically and psychologically. Individuals with a history of diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, heart disease or liver disease cannot be considered as donors because of the potential health risks to themselves and the kidney recipient. Obesity and previous surgeries may also exclude a donor because of the increased surgical risk. Donors should be over the age of 18.


The operation to remove a kidney can be done in one of two ways. A laparoscopic kidney removal involves the use of a laparoscope, which contains a miniature camera. Four or five small incisions are made and the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas to better visualize the anatomy. The surgeons watch what they are doing on a video monitor. The kidney is cut free and then removed through a slightly larger incision in the lower abdomen. This surgery takes approximately three hours.

The other way to remove the kidney is to make an incision about 10-12 inches long along the patient’s side, near their waist, between the ribs and hip. In some cases a rib or part of a rib may be removed to provide better access to the kidney. The surgery takes three to four hours. There is a longer recovery time and generally more pain associated with this method when compared to the laparoscopic procedure.

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Treatments for Living Donor Transplant

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Symptoms and Screenings for Living Donor Transplant

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Causes and Preventions for Living Donor Transplant

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Education and Resources for Living Donor Transplant

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Support groups for Living Donor Transplant

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Learn More about Living Donor Transplant

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