Adventures of a Kidney Donor

August 21, 2010

Laparoscopic Kidney Removal

I have passed the evaluation by the psychiatrist (or “fizz-a-key-a-trist” as Ricky Ricardo used to say, ha ha)  so now the wait for the kidney donation is on. I guess it might be faster when only two of us are involved.  In the paired donation program four people had to be organized.

The picture on the left shows how small the scars are after someone has had laparoscopic kidney removal.  Pretty amazing.  (I WISH my abs will look like this afterward! Can they do some liposuction when in there???) A lot of people don’t know that most kidneys are removed by the laparoscopic method rather than the older open method that involved a large incision on your side.  You have to sign an agreement before surgery to authorize the open method if the surgeon has to switch to it, but that is rare. Usually you only have to have the open method if you have weight issues or have had gastric bypass surgery.

The surgery involves three or four small cuts in your belly and side. The surgeon uses tiny probes and a camera to do the surgery.  At University of Michigan a three arm robot is used that holds a three dimensional camera in one arm and a dissecting instrument and grasping forceps in the remaining arms. The instruments are advanced into the abdominal cavity through keyhole incisions.  Dissection of the kidney is performed by the surgeon who commands the tips of the instruments to replicate wrist and finger motion. At the time of kidney removal a small incision is made in the lower abdomen and the kidney is placed in a bag and removed for preservation and transplantation.

A good description I saw said that the surgery is worse than a gallbladder removal, better than a C-section.

This clip shows how laparoscopic kidney removal is done but it is animated so it is easier to watch than a real surgery. I have watched real surgery too. Interesting, but don’ t watch right after you eat. How do surgeons cope in the hospital cafeteria? They must become used to it. Nephrologists NEVER order steak and kidney pie I bet. HA HA.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation


  1. Thanks for the info Anne! Amazing.

    Comment by Sharon — August 22, 2010 @ 11:27 am |Reply

  2. I guess I will skip the illustrations of holes in the stomach–only because I would think about the holes in YOUR stomach! You did’nt have to see the Fizz-a keyatrist. I could have told them that you actually have more marbles than the rest of us. Try not to have it done while we’re on vacation OK?

    Comment by Jan Taylor — August 27, 2010 @ 11:42 am |Reply

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