Tubes and monitoring equipment will be used to check your recovery progress after surgery. You can expect to wake up from surgery with an IV line in your arm, a larger IV in your neck (central line), a small tube called a foley catheter in your bladder to collect your urine, and EKG pads on your chest to monitor your heartbeat. When you wake up, you will be in the recovery room. Then you will be transferred to either the transplant floor or the surgical intensive care unit (ICU).

Initially you will be under the effects of anesthesia; you will be sleepy and may not remember the first time your family visits. During your recovery period, we will frequently check your vital signs, draw blood and collect urine for lab tests, monitor your urine output, and administer medications. In order to monitor your kidney function, you may have some of the following tests:

  • Serum creatinine: This blood test measures kidney function. It is checked each day while you are in the hospital.
  • Renal scan: This test monitors blood flow to the kidney and kidney function.
  • Renal ultrasound: This test checks the kidney for any blockages or fluid collections around the kidney.
  • Kidney biopsy: This test is used to check for rejection.

You can expect to spend three to five days in the hospital after surgery. Your nurses will help you regain your strength, teach you how to care for yourself when you go home, and prepare you for discharge from the hospital. Close follow-up is essential for the success of your transplant, so after you are discharged, you may need to return to the transplant clinic daily for a few days for lab work.

Kidney-Pancreas Transplant

You will likely remain on an insulin drip or continuous IV insulin infusion for the first several days after your kidney-pancreas transplant. While you are in the hospital, your blood sugar levels will be followed closely and your insulin adjusted as your new pancreas begins to function.

You will have several tubes and monitors for the first few days after surgery. A nasogastric tube (NG) will be placed through your nose down into your stomach. This tube helps keep your stomach empty, or "decompressed," to protect the area where the pancreas is attached to your small intestine. You will also have a foley catheter, a small tube placed into your bladder to drain and measure your urine output. A main IV line will be inserted in your neck so that labs can be drawn and the many medications and IV fluids you will receive can be administered. These tubes and IVs will be removed gradually as your recovery progresses.

After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room and then either to the transplant unit or the surgical intensive care unit. The length of your stay in the hospital for kidney-pancreas transplant typically ranges from six to 10 days.