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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the immune system weakens, viral infections and other infections become problematic.
To prevent infection after kidney transplant surgery, you should:
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.