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Kidney Transplant: During the Operation

What Happens During a Kidney Transplant Operation?

Regardless of your child's donor source, the transplant operation is the same. During the kidney transplant procedure at Cincinnati Children's, your child is asleep with general anesthesia throughout the surgery, which usually lasts about three to four hours.

Existing Kidneys

If your child still has their own kidneys, they are not removed unless they have been causing problems such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, recurrent infections, or very high urine output.

The New Kidneys

Once your child is asleep, the transplant surgeon makes a cut (incision) on either the right or left side of the lower belly, just above the groin area. This incision looks like a small hockey stick. The new kidney is placed in the belly below the ribs.

The new kidney's blood vessels are attached to your child's blood vessels, and the tube draining urine from it is attached to your child's bladder. Often, the kidney start making urine right away, but sometimes it takes days to weeks before it starts working. If there is a delay in the function of the new kidney, your child may need some dialysis treatments until the kidney does start to work.

Last Updated 10/2021

Reviewed By Emma Trotta, RN