During Surgery

Undergoing Your Transplant Surgery

Receiving word that a donated organ is available, or preparing for your living donor transplant procedure, can be challenging, complex and exciting. We want you to be as prepared as possible prior to arriving that day.

During Transplant Surgery

Generally, a transplant follows this process:

  1. You will receive a phone call from a nurse or a physician alerting you that an organ has become available and available information about the transplantation organ.
  2. Once you arrive at the hospital, you will be admitted and the preparation for surgery will begin.
  3. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your arm or hand. Additional catheters may be inserted in your neck and wrist to monitor the status of your heart and blood pressure, as well as for obtaining blood samples. Alternate sites for the additional catheters include the subclavian (under the collarbone) area and the groin.
  4. Physicians and nurses will see you and obtain any additional or new medical information.
  5. An anesthesiologist will visit you to discuss their role in the procedure.
  6. Any excessive hair at the surgical site may be removed.
  7. You will be asleep under general anesthesia during transplant surgery. A tube will be inserted through your mouth into your lungs. The tube will be attached to a ventilator that will breathe for you during the procedure.
  8. The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.

Risks of the Procedure

As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Rejection of the transplant organ
  • Blockage of the blood vessels
  • Initial lack of function of the new organ

The new organ may generate a response in your body that causes the immune system to reject the transplanted organ. Rejection is a normal reaction of the body to a foreign object or tissue. To prevent rejection, medication is used that helps the immune system accept the transplanted organ.


“Rejection does not mean that you will lose your organ. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important to avoid complications. ” Nadeem Anwar, MD UC Health Transplant Team Physician


The medications used to prevent or treat rejection have side effects. Your exact side effects will depend on the specific medication you are given.

Please be aware that there are factors that may not allow a transplantation to take place. Those may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Current or recurring infection that cannot be treated effectively
  • Metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread from its primary location to one or more additional locations in the body
  • Severe cardiac or other medical conditions preventing the ability to tolerate the surgical procedure
  • Serious conditions other than the disease being treated that would not improve after transplantation
  • Noncompliance with treatment regimen

There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.


Preparing for a Transplant

Before Surgery
We will educate and prepare you to face your surgery with confidence and clear understanding of all that is involved.

Life After a Transplant

After Surgery
Our only goal is to make sure that you have a good outcome and we will do everything we can to make that happen.