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.
- kidney donation
- post-donation recovery