Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

About the Methodist Living Donor Center

The Methodist Living Donor Center in Houston, Texas, was established to educate, inspire and support those people willing to give the ultimate gift of life and save another person through kidney donation.

Living kidney donation is on the rise across the nation, as more and more Americans are added to the transplant waiting list every day. In fact, since we created a dedicated living donor unit, referrals for living kidney donation have quadrupled at Methodist in recent years. We are growing faster than ever before, and are committed to expediting the process of donor and recipient evaluations for transplant.

“Organ donation is perhaps the greatest gift one human could offer another. Literally giving a piece of yourself in order to save another person's life and prolong your time with that person... it is remarkable.”

— Dr. Osama Gaber, Director of Transplantation

Our staff is dedicated to educating patients in need of kidney transplants and those interested in learning more about living donation. We provide extensive donor evaluations and medical care before, during and after transplant surgery. The medical, emotional and spiritual needs of living donors are our top priority at the Methodist Living Donor Center.

Living Donor Evaluation Process

Every living donor at Methodist undergoes an extensive evaluation by a medical team that is separate from the recipient's medical team. This provides another level of safety and discretion to the process to ensure the donor's health condition, mental state and reasons for donating.

What to expect in surgery

Dr. Gaber, director of the transplant center, meets with patients
Dr. Gaber, Director of the J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center, meets with transplant patients.

In a living donor kidney transplant, the donor always goes into surgery first, to ensure it is indeed safe to remove that person's kidney. Once the donor's kidney is visible, surgeons work to carefully remove it in one room while another operating team prepares the transplant recipient. The donor's kidney is removed laparoscopically if medically possible, meaning smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

Donors and recipients are in adjacent operating rooms, so when the donor kidney is removed, it is simply taken into the recipient room and connected to the recipient's body by attaching the blood vessels. Unless there is a medical reason to remove the diseased kidneys from the recipient, they actually remain in the recipient's body, leaving him or her with three kidneys.

After surgery, the donor stays in the hospital for two to three days. The transplant recipient is taken directly to the transplant-dedicated patient floor, unless a short time in the intensive care unit is necessary, for approximately three or four days before returning home.

Life after surgery

There are almost no long-term effects for living kidney donors, and they live normal lives after surgery. In fact, the donor's remaining kidney will actually grow larger and compensate for the function of the donated kidney. Giving a kidney to a loved one does not change the potential risk of long term kidney problems, which is why we are careful to screen all potential donors for potential kidney disease later in life.

For more information, please call 713-441-8900.

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