Recovery at the transplant centre

Find out what to expect after kidney transplant surgery and when you can go home

Key points

  • You will feel sore for a few days after the surgery and need strong painkillers
  • You can expect to be in hospital for at least a few days or even a week or more
  • Your transplanted kidney should usually start working within a week or two of the surgery
  • You will go home with new medicines, including powerful immunosuppressants to help prevent rejection

How long will you stay in hospital?

You can expect to be in hospital for a few days or maybe over a week. If you are recovering well from the surgery the transplant team will be happy for you to be discharged home. 

The amount of time you’re in hospital can vary depending on whether you’re receiving a kidney from a living or deceased donor.

If you’re receiving a kidney from a living donor – the usual stay is 4 to 6 days.

If you’re receiving a kidney from a deceased donor - most patients stay in hospital for 6 to 10 days.

Why the difference?

Kidneys from living donor usually start working more quickly after the transplant as the donor is healthier.

Learn about living donor kidney transplants

Learn about deceased donor kidney transplants

What to expect in the first few days after surgery

What happens next?

More information

Medical terms explained


Immunosuppressants are powerful medicines that weaken your immune system to prevent it attacking your new organ.

Intravenous drip

Also known as an IV drip. This is when a tube is placed into your vein so liquids, such as fluid or medicine, can be delivered directly into your bloodstream.

Over-the-counter medicines

This refers to any medicine you can buy without a prescription, for example in a pharmacy, supermarket or online. It includes paracetamol and ibuprofen.


Rejection is when your immune system starts to attack your transplanted organ because it doesn’t recognise it.

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