From Surgery to Survival / Kidney Transplant Aftercare

From Surgery to Survival / Kidney Transplant Aftercare

Table of Contents

A kidney transplant is a surgery to exchange a damaged kidney with another kidney from a donor (another person). 

Kidneys are two bean-shaped limbs located under the ribs on the direction side of the upper abdomen (stomach). Kidneys remove waste and other chemicals from the body. These waste materials are excreted from the body in the form of urine. 

When the kidneys are severely damaged, these waste materials accumulate in the body and cause damage. 

This may cause seizures, difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure, body swelling, confusion, fainting, or even death. A new kidney may be needed to replace the damaged kidney to keep the body functioning. 

After a Renal transplant, getting back to everyday life is essential, while post-kidney transplant care is also critical.

In this article, recommendations and care after Kidney grafting are mentioned.

Care after kidney transplant

Recovery after kidney transplantation depends on many factors, including the patient’s age, general health, severity of kidney disease, infection, secondary organ dysfunction, or complications before or after kidney transplantation. 

Related: “What Is A Stent For Kidney Stones? Painless Removal

A good understanding of the process, moral support and family encouragement, a positive attitude, and a strong will are essential in recovering patients who have had this type of nephrology surgery.

  • in the hospital

    Kidney donors wake up immediately after surgery, although they may feel drowsy for a few hours. They can get out of bed in 1-2 days and walk 2-3 days later. Various venous catheters are removed after recovery. 

Generally, they can have a liquid diet and follow their regular diet after 2-3 days. They are transferred to the ward within 1 to 2 days and discharged within 5 to 7 days.

Painkillers are prescribed to kidney donors depending on the pain threshold. Some patients prefer to use painkillers before walking or any exercise that may cause pain or just before going to bed to have a good night’s rest. 

After discharge, they are generally given painkillers and vitamins. Most kidney donors will have an unstable recovery. After discharge, kidney donors must follow up to ensure health.

Patients (kidney recipients) are put on a ventilator overnight and taken off when fully conscious. 


Kidney recipients are closely monitored for bleeding, infection, or other complications. The first 24 to 48 hours are critical, and the kidneys’ condition and function are monitored with frequent blood tests

Catheters and drains are removed in 3-4 days with progress and recovery. Patients who have had kidney transplant surgery are given a liquid diet followed by a regular diet for 2 to 5 days. 

Nurses help kidney recipients get out of bed within 1-2 days. They participate in physical therapy programs, walk after 4-5 days and gradually become more active. They should actively perform incentive spirometry to prevent lung infection and speed recovery. 

They are transferred to the ward 3 to 5 days later and remain in the hospital for about 5 to 7 days. They will receive pain relievers and some other medications at discharge as needed.

Kidney recipients may require blood tests and ultrasound to monitor kidney function, recovery, and follow-up care according to standard protocol.

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  • Hospital discharge

    While the kidney recipient is recovering from surgery, the family should take the opportunity to learn about post-discharge precautions, recovery aids, test and appointment schedules, medications, and warning signs of potential problems. 

At the time of discharge, patients receive a discharge summary with detailed instructions on tests, medication schedules, and treatment management.

After discharge, patients should be tested and visit the transplant clinic every 5-7 days for continuous care and complete recovery.

Kidney transplant aftercare 02
  • Prevention of infection

    Anti-rejection drugs are used to manage kidney transplants and help the body not reject the new kidney, but they also weaken the immune system.

As the immune system weakens, viral infections and other infections become problematic.

To prevent infection after kidney transplant surgery, you should:

    • Wash your hands regularly.
    • Observe hygiene in contact with others.
    • Avoid being close to people who have contagious diseases.
    • Avoid contact with children who have recently received a live attenuated vaccine and people who have received a nasal (nasal) flu vaccine.
    • If you have travel plans, talk to your doctor about this in advance
iinfection control 110022
  • vaccine

    Getting the vaccine with the approval of the medical team can be beneficial for the kidney recipient’s health.

It will take at least six months after a kidney transplant before you can get any vaccines.

After a Renal transplant, you should never receive a vaccine containing the live or weakened virus.

Among these vaccines, we can mention chicken pox, yellow fever, measles, mumps, rubella, oral polio vaccine, shingles vaccine, and nasal form (nasal) influenza vaccine.

 It would be best to avoid direct contact with people who have received these types of vaccines.

Vaccines that contain dead or inactivated viruses can be used after kidney transplantation.

Among these vaccines, we can mention influenza vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus vaccine, tuberculosis skin test, and pneumococcal vaccine.

vaccine after kidney transplant
  • Diet and nutrition

    Kidney recipients may lose their appetite after kidney surgery. Appetite gradually improves over time. 

However, eating a high-protein diet is vital to help heal the wound from kidney surgery and aftercare. If necessary, the nutritionist will recommend using nutritional supplements to help faster recovery and treatment management.

If patients prefer a specific type of food or food, they should consult a nutritionist.

    • Food – how to prepare/consumption:

      • Food should be cooked healthy.
      • Wash dishes well before cooking.
      • Wash in clean water and cook.
      • Use boiled/filtered water.
      • Eat small and frequent meals.
      • Drink plenty of fluids. Consumption is not limited.
      • Salt restriction is not necessary unless hypertension is present.
      • After washing and disinfecting them, consume plenty of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.
      • Eat a moderated diet, low in fat and high in protein.
      • Eat calcium-rich foods such as skim milk, cheese, soy, eggs, chicken, and fish.
      • Within a few weeks, patients can resume eating as before the transplant.
    • Foods to avoid after kidney transplant surgery:

      • Avoid eating outside and on the side of the road.
      • Avoid fried or fatty foods.
      • Do not use leftover food overnight.
      • Avoid raw eggs or mayonnaise.
      • Avoid half-cooked foods.
      • Avoid red meat.
      • Avoid consuming cold meat.
      • Avoid eating unripe fruits.
      • Avoid consuming expired food packaging.
      • Avoid eating foods like bananas, coconut water, and fruit juice if you have high potassium.
      • If you have high blood sugar, elude sweets and fruits like mango in order to have a quick recovery.


kidney Diet and nutrition 01273
  • Activity and sports

    Many kidney transplant patients feel more energetic after recovering from surgery and are therefore eager to increase their physical activity levels regardless of the need for follow-up care.

Our advice to kidney transplant recipients after hospital discharge is to increase their physical activity gradually but only exhaust themselves a little and pay attention to continuous care.

To avoid possible risks during activity, observe the following after nephrology surgery (kidney transplant):

      • To manage the treatment, avoid lifting heavy objects for at least six weeks and gradually increase the weight of portable objects.
      • Avoid lying down or bending over the operated areas, which may cause back pain.
      • Gradually increase your physical activity.
      • Avoid vigorous exercise for at least 12 weeks.
      • Avoid certain sports, such as boxing or martial arts, that may put direct pressure on the kidneys.

The following will help increase your activity:
  • Park the car further from your destination and increase the distance you walk daily to help with recovery.
  • Go to work by bike instead of using a car.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.


Kidney transplant aftercare 04
  • skincare

    Anti-rejection drugs given after kidney transplant surgery increase the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, use the appropriate cover for your skin (hats and sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher) for continuous skin care.

Do the same care on cloudy days because even in this case, the sun’s rays harm the skin.

Related: “How To Prevent Sunburn Without Sunscreen?

Check your skin health regularly and see a doctor if there are any changes in moles or skin spots.


  • Care of teeth after kidney transplant

    Be sure to inform your dentist about your kidney transplant and what medications you are taking.

Have regular dental checkups and maintain oral hygiene.

If you have a sore in your mouth that will not heal, it should be checked by a doctor.


  • Eye care after kidney transplant

    Buy new glasses at least six months after your kidney transplant, as your vision will change in the first few months after your Renal transplant.


  • Pregnancy

    Not getting pregnant in the first year after a kidney transplant is recommended.

Therefore, as a follow-up care, use effective methods of contraception. Pregnancy can put pressure on the kidneys. The drugs used may also affect the health of the child.

However, if you intend to get pregnant, go to counseling clinics and experts in the pregnancy field.


Many people will live a healthy and everyday life after a kidney transplant. Taking proper care of yourself during recovery gives your body a good chance to heal.

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Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,


  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.



  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993


Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.



  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.