Discharge Instructions for Kidney Donors

You gave one of your kidneys to save someone’s life. This was a wonderful gift. Most kidney donors live normal lives with one kidney. Once you recover from surgery, you will be able to return to your normal activities. Here's what you need to know about home care after surgery.

Incision care

  • Shower as needed starting 2 or 3 days after surgery. Gently wash your cut (incision) from surgery with soap and water and pat dry.

  • Don’t soak in a bath until your incision is healed (2 weeks).


  • Don’t drive for 4 weeks after surgery or while taking pain medicines containing narcotics.

  • Don't do any strenuous activity for 2 weeks after your surgery.

  • Always lift objects safely. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the first 4 weeks after your surgery.

  • No pushing or pulling heavy objects for 4 weeks after surgery. Don’t push a stroller, grocery cart, or vacuum cleaner. Don’t pull a wagon, garden hose, or golf club carrier.

  • Don’t play any contact sports for at least 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. Check with your healthcare provider before you start exercising.

  • Resume sexual activity when you feel able.

  • Rest when you feel tired, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and walk as much as you can handle.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect to return to work.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Cloudy or smelly urine

  • Urge to urinate more often than normal

  • Burning when you urinate

  • Little or no urine output or blood in your urine

  • Pain that gets worse or isn’t relieved by treatment

  • Pain in or around your wound

  • Warmth, redness, or swelling in the skin around the wound

  • Wound that opens up or pulls apart

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Shaking chills

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Symptoms that are new or getting worse

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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