What to Expect After Surgery
After surgery you will wake up in the recovery room. You will remain in the recovery room until the anesthesia has worn off.
Upon awakening you will have:
- An intravenous line, which will remain in for approximately two days.
- An oxygen mask on, which will be removed once you are fully awake.
- A surgical dressing over the incision.
- A catheter, which was placed while you were under anesthesia, in the bladder to drain and measure the urine. The catheter is usually removed the day after surgery.
- Compression boots or plastic sleeves over the legs that will inflate and deflate to gently squeeze the legs. Compression boots are used to prevent blood clots. You will wear the boots until you are able to get out of bed and walk.
The Hospital Stay
Once awake, you will be taken to a hospital room. The expected length of stay for open nephrectomy is four days; for the laparoscopic procedure, the hospital stay is usually two days.
During the hospital stay you will be encouraged to cough and deep take a deep breath every two hours. You will be given an incentive spirometer, a plastic device that helps expand the lungs and prevent pneumonia. Most donors find it helpful to use a pillow to splint or apply pressure over the incision for comfort while coughing and deep breathing.
The nursing staff will assist the donor with getting out of bed until he/she is able to do so independently. Expect to get out of bed the day after surgery. The staff will also assist the donor to walk the day after surgery. Once you are fully ambulatory, the compression stockings can be removed.