Text size A A A


Transplantation at the Erasmus MC

The initial examination

If you would like to be considered for a kidney transplant, we will need to carry out a number of initial examinations. The nephrologist at your own hospital will do this. Examinations that have already been carried out by another hospital may need to be repeated. This is because important information could be missing and the doctors need a complete picture of the course of your illness. If you would like to receive a kidney from a living donor, the donor will first receive information about living donation. If the donor decides to donate a kidney, the donor will also have an initial examination at the Erasmus MC.

Read more about the process the donor will undergo under ‘Donation at the Erasmus MC

The transplant

If the transplant is taking place at the Erasmus MC, you will undergo three steps:
1. Preparations on admission
2. The day of the transplant
3. After the surgery

1. Preparations on admission

We will carry out various additional examinations before the transplant takes place. This can be carried out on the day before the operation or the day of the operation itself. This examination will take place at the transplant department or the accident and emergency department. The preparatory examinations consist of an ECG, a chest x-ray, a physical examination and a blood test. Before the operation, you will also be asked if you would like to cooperate in scientific research. If you cooperate in this, blood and tissue will be removed during the operation. This can be used for research at a later date. There is no obligation to consent to this.

2. The day of the transplant

During a transplant, your donor will undergo the operation first. If you know the donor, you will be able to see each other again before the operation. At the Erasmus MC, the recipients and donors are not cared for in the same room. This is done for practical reasons, including the fact that you will both need to rest after the operation. For the recipient the fact that donor is not feeling well after the surgery can be a negative experience, and vice versa. On the day of the surgery you will be brought to the operating theatre during the morning or early afternoon. The operation will be carried out by one of the transplant surgeons. The donor kidney will be inspected, prepared and then placed in your body. The blood vessels and ureter of the new kidney will then be connected to your own blood vessels and bladder. The scar will be on your lower abdomen. This is a curve around 15-20 cm long. Your old kidneys will not be removed. The surgery takes approximately two hours. There may be no urine production straight after the kidney transplant. The kidney has been outside the body for a little while and will need a recovery period. It is therefore possible that you will still require renal replacement therapy, such as CAPD or haemodialysis, for some time after the surgery.

3. After the surgery

After the surgery, your recovery period will begin. For the first few days, you will probably not feel very well, but a kidney transplant is not usually experienced as painful. If you have received a kidney from a family member or someone else you know, you can have contact with your donor again the day after the surgery. We will observe you closely during the days after the operation and will carry out various examinations to look at the renal function of your new kidney. Most patients stay at the hospital for about two weeks after the transplant.

Read more about your life after the transplant