Once you have been called in for your simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant surgery, it is important for you to have this day planned out ahead of time. How will you get to the hospital? Where do you go? What do you bring?
When you get the call for your transplant, you need to arrive at Admitting on the 9th floor of OHSU. You will then go to a pre-op floor where the nurses and doctors will prepare you for the surgery. The time before the surgery is very busy. A resident, intern, or PA will perform a physical examination and take a complete history. You will need to bring a complete list of all your medications. At this time you will be asked to sign one or more consent forms giving your permission to the surgeons to perform the surgery.
The nurses will start an intravenous line (IV) for antibiotics to prevent infection. When it is time, the nurses will take you to the operating room. Once you are placed under anesthesia, the transplant team goes to work.
Length of surgery
The average length of time for a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant is 4-6 hours and may vary according to your procedure type. The length of time does not predict the success of the surgery. Patients with a past history of abdominal surgery usually take longer during simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant because of scar tissue present in the abdominal cavity. When the surgery is complete, if you have elected to have open surgery, the surgeons close your incision with staples. The staples stay in place for at least three weeks and are removed during one of your clinic visits.
While you are in surgery, your family and friends can wait in the intensive care waiting area. The operating room nurses may come out during the surgery to give you a progress report. It's helpful to identify one spokesperson when communicating to the nursing staff, who will then pass along information to family and friends.
The Transplant Unit
You will wake up from the transplant operation on the 4A Transplant Unit. When you wake up you may experience some confusion due to the anesthetic. The sights and sounds may seem strange to you. You will be attached to many tubes, IV lines, and monitors. When you are stable, the doctors will remove some of the monitors, intravenous (IV) lines and tubes.
The average length of stay on the Transplant Unit is 7-9 days, depending on how you respond to the surgery, how quickly you recover from the anesthetic, and how sick you were prior to the transplant. This varies depending on your overall post-transplant recovery. After your surgery, you may feel many different emotions. Many people feel relief that it is over. It is not uncommon to feel depressed or anxious after the surgery. All these emotions are common and most people feel a little of each. While you are on the Transplant Unit you have some important responsibilities before you can be discharged, including eating, walking, coughing and deep breathing.
The Transplant Team will discharge you when:
- You are physically stable.
- You know your medications and can set up each dose.
- You know your clinic and lab schedule.
- You meet the conditions identified on the discharge review worksheet (reviewed by the coordinators).
- You have arrangements for a place to stay when leaving the hospital.