Many kidney donors are able to live normal lives after their donation. The procedure does not affect the function or survival of the remaining kidney, and in fact, it can increase its capacity by an average of 22.4%. This is known as “compensatory growth”. People can lead a normal life with just one kidney, as long as the donor is thoroughly evaluated and the donation is authorized.
When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to make up for the loss of the donated one. Donating a kidney is a big decision, but it doesn't have to change your lifestyle after surgery. Dr. Susan Hou suggests that many of the steps you took to stay healthy before donating are the same ones that will help you stay that way afterwards.
Studies have shown that people can live normal, healthy lives with just one kidney. Living kidney donors are carefully evaluated to ensure they are healthy before a living donation can be made. They are encouraged to have regular checkups and to follow a healthy lifestyle. In general, most people with only one normal kidney have few or no problems; however, it's important to talk to your transplant team about the risks involved in donating.
Living donation doesn't change life expectancy and doesn't seem to increase the risk of kidney failure. There have been some cases where living donors needed a kidney later on, not necessarily because of the donation itself. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is dedicated to raising awareness, preventing and treating kidney disease. They work on behalf of those 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and those most at risk, to support them in their fight against kidney disease from prevention to life after transplantation.
Advances in surgical techniques since the mid-to late 1990s have drastically improved the cosmetic outcome following live kidney donation. Before making a decision about donating, it's important to talk to your transplant team about any pre-existing conditions or other factors that may increase your risk of developing kidney disease. Each donor's motivations can vary greatly, and each donor has a unique experience as they go through the process of donating their kidney, from the initial decision to be evaluated as a potential donor to years after the donation occurs. Donors should follow up with the transplant hospital for two years after their donation.