A living donor transplant can eliminate a long wait for a donor organ, and it provides the best quality organ possible.

Becoming a living donor through MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute requires several steps: evaluation, surgery, and recovery.

Evaluation

In order to direct your organ to a specific recipient, such as a relative or friend, our transplant team will evaluate you in several ways, including:

  1. Taking a complete medical history
  2. Performing a psychiatric evaluation, to ensure that you fully understand the donation process
  3. Completing laboratory and image testing to make sure you are in good health

Someone who is planning to donate all or part of an organ must be healthy and psychologically ready to handle the surgery and its recovery. Testing includes:

  • A discussion with a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker
  • Blood and urine testing
  • A chest X-ray and EKG to check heart function
  • An MRI of the organ
  • An arteriogram of the organ
  • Consultations with the transplant physician

Once those are completed, the surgery will be scheduled at a mutually convenient date for both the donor and the recipient.

Surgery

Both the donor and recipient are given pre-surgery instructions. Each organ transplant surgery, one for the donor and one for the recipient, usually lasts approximately 2 to 9 hours depending on the individual and the organ being transplanted. Liver and small bowel transplant surgeries typically take longer than the other transplants we offer due to the intricate blood supply to the liver and small bowel.

Recovery

Donating an organ is considered major surgery. You can expect to stay in the Intensive Care Unit for about a day before transferring to the General Surgery Unit for 5 to 10 days, depending on the type of transplant surgery undertaken.

You should expect to refrain from work and regular household activities for up to six weeks as you recover. You must remain in the local area for four to six weeks post discharge for monitoring.

Donors are not responsible for any medical costs associated with the transplant or evaluations.