Return to normal activities and work after living donor laparoscopic nephrectomy

Dawn B. Larson, Cheryl Jacobs, Danielle Berglund, Jennifer Wiseman, Catherine Garvey, Kristen Gillingham, Hassan N. Ibrahim, Arthur J. Matas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Transplant programs inform potential donors that they should be able to return to normal activities within ~2 weeks and to work by 6 weeks after laparoscopic nephrectomy. We studied actual time. Between 10/2004 and 9/2014, 911 donors having laparoscopic nephrectomy were surveyed 6 months post-donation. Surveys asked questions specific to their recovery experience, including time to return to normal activities and work and a description of their recovery time relative to pre-donation expectations. Of the 911, 646 (71%) responded: mean age at donation was 43.5±10.6 years; 65% were female, 95% were white, 51% were biologically related to their recipient, and 83% reported education beyond high school. Of the 646 respondents, a total of 35% returned to normal activities by 2 weeks post-donation; 79% by 4 weeks post-donation; 94% by 5-6 weeks; however, 6% took >6 weeks. Of the 646, 551 (85%) were working for pay; of these, mean time to return to work was 5.3±2.8 weeks; median, 5 weeks. Of the 551, a total of 14% returned to work in 1-2 weeks, 46% by 3-4 weeks, and 76% by 5-6 weeks. Importantly, 24% required >6 weeks before returning to work with the highest rates for donors in manual labor or a skilled trade. Significantly longer return to work was reported by females (vs males; P=.01), those without (vs those with) post-high school education (P=.010, those with longer hospital stay (P=.01), and those with a postoperative complication (P=.02). Of respondents, 37% described their recovery time as longer than expected. During the donor informed consent process, additional emphasis on realistic expectations around recovery to baseline activities and return to work is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12862
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • kidney donation
  • post-donation recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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