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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Division of Transplantation

Information for Transplant Recipients

Questions and Answers

Q - How long will it be before my stitches are removed?

A - Usually about two weeks. This is to be sure that all layers of skin are healed.

Q - How much weight can I lift without hurting the kidney?

A - You should avoid heavy lifting (more than 15 pounds), bending or straining for approximately three (3) months after your transplant.

Q - When will I be able to return to work?

A - This depends on how you feel and the type of work you do. You should be able to return to work six to eight weeks after your transplant.

Q - When will I be able to drive a car?

A - Usually after three (3) weeks. Be sure to always wear your seat belt even if it is over the kidney.

Q - When can I begin an exercise program? What exercises are best?

A - You should begin walking 10-15 minutes every day after discharge from the hospital. Avoid using an exercise bike for about three (3) weeks after surgery, and avoid strenuous exercises such as jogging for about six (6) weeks after surgery. As a transplant recipient you should not participate in contact sports such as football or rugby as there is a risk of injuring the kidney. Walking, bicycling and swimming are excellent forms of exercise for transplant recipients after the initial three (3) to six (6) week period.

Q - When can I resume sexual activity?

A - After two (2) to three (3) weeks depending on how you feel. Try different positions if you have pain over your incision. Always practice safe sex. Women should avoid pregnancy for at least one year after transplant.

Q - How will I know if I am having a rejection episode?

A - Rejection episodes can be very obvious or may be completely unnoticeable. Most commonly, you will have an increase in your creatinine level without any other noticeable signs or symptoms. Rarely, you may have a decreased urine output, fever, weight gain or pain over the kidney. Your creatinine will be checked each time you have your blood drawn. While rejection is always possible after transplant, if you perform the self checks you were taught, take your medications and keep your scheduled clinic appointments, any rejection episodes will be picked up early and treated quickly.

Q - How often must I come to clinic for check-ups?

A - Twice a week for about one month. Your visits will be tapered to once per month by about six (6) months.

Q - What if I cannot make it to a scheduled clinic appointment?

A - You must call the clinic to reschedule the appointment. The clinic phone number is (718) 270-7207.

Q - What if I get sick before my scheduled appointment?

A - Call the Transplant Nurse Practitioner at (718) 270-3169. He/She will discuss the problem with you and advise you as to what to do. If you need to be seen by the doctor, the Nurse Practitioner will arrange it.

Q - How long must I take the anti-rejection medications?

A - You must take the medications exactly as prescribed for as long as you have the kidney. The types or doses of medications may be changed, but without these medications your body will reject the kidney.

Q - What about the new anti-rejection drugs I have heard about? Are they better than the ones I am taking?

A - While research is always being done to find the perfect anti-rejection medication, the drugs you are taking, while not perfect, are the safest and most effective drugs known to prevent rejection.