Back Pain From Kidney Donation
Q: I gave my son a kidney 8/6/95. Although I have not had back pain, I have experinced weakness in my right leg(it is much better now) and continually have discomfort on my left side if I carry heavy objects like groceries. I am surprised that you carried a back pack so soon after your surgery. I was told not to for 6-8 months.
A: I am writing in hopes of finding another kidney donor who has experienced lower back pain from the donor surgery, but information for anyone will be greatly appreciated. I was a kidney donor 1 1/2 years ago, the recipient is doing great and I had a very nice and easy recovery. About 4 months ago I started to experience a great deal of lower back pain that would occassionaly radiate down my legs. Sometimes my back will ache and sometimes it feels as if a knife was plunged into it. I saw a doctor who referred me to an OB/GYN thinking I was having gynecological problems. The OB/GYN found nothing adnormal with my reproductive organs but came to the conclusion that my spine and muscles were damaged because of the abnormal position my body was placed in during the donor surgery. I have had 3 other abdominal surgeries in the past 9 years and they may have attributed to it also if I was placed in an unusual position (they were C-Sections). I am supposed to start seeing a chiropractor. 12 weeks after the donor surgery I was carrying a 50 lb. backpack hiking the canyons of Utah with no back problems so I am unsure of the diagnosis. Would I not have noticed this problem sooner if it was related to the donor surgery? I don't know for sure but the pain could be caused by a rough cut of the removed rib. My father is waiting for a k/p and we watched a tape of a show on Discovery. The show was "The Operation". It showed a son donating a kidney to his father. As the surgeon was snipping off the lower rib, he explained some donors feel sharp pains if a clean cut is not achieved. The tool he used was very sharp so he said the patient he was working on should feel no discomfort. Perhaps the tool used in your operation was not as sharp as it could have been. I'm not saying this is definately what happened, but it is a possibliity. The fact that it took over 1 year for your pain to occur puzzles me. Perhaps you could mention this to your doctor and see what he or she thinks. I have been subscribed to this list for quite some time, but this is my first attempt at responding to a message. I donated my left kidney to a friend of mine on April 27, 1993. (He has actually posted a couple of messages--Tom Jones). I had an easy recovery and fully resumed all my activities. In fact, I delivered a healthy baby about 14 months after the surgery. My lower back has not "ached" since my surgery (even during my pregnancy), but I do occasionally experience intermittent shooting pains on the right side of my lower back, which sometimes go down the back of my leg. I rarely experience any discomfort on my left side--even when lifting weights or carrying heavy objects, However, I spend alot of time working on the stomach, back and side muscle groups. I was very fortunate in that my surgeon was able to safely remove the kidney without removing the rib. I know that for some surgeons it is standard practice to automatically remove the rib, but my surgeon took the approach of removing it only if needed, and they were able to keep it. The intermittent shooting pain does not hurt, nor does it keep me from working full-time, traveling, working out, chasing my daughter (now a toddler) around, or playing racquetball, softball and volleyabll. Mostly it is just kind of weird when it happens. It comes without warning and cannot be linked to any specific activities, and it spontaneously goes away quickly. My physicians can find no reason for this, and have assured me that the remaining kidney is fine. Right after the surgery, it was suggested that the pains could be from the remaining right kidney increasing in size. But I still occasionally get them three years out. So, while it is a different experience than prior to the surgery, and I am very aware of it when it happens, it is infrequent and benign enough that I just ignore it at this point. Hope this helps.
I donated my right kidney a litte over a year ago and I have some pretty regular pain in my right side. This is right where the kidney would be. It's not acute pain - more of a dull ache that sits there from time to time. I do notice it more when I'm tired or stressed and I actually think it has to do with my body still healing. I know it's been a long time, but that was a pretty major surgery "minimally invasive" is a light term for what they did. If you think about it, they moved all of the organs in front of the kidney around to remove it and then everything has to settle back in someplace and then heal. it's pretty invasive. I do have great protein levels and have not had any concerns about lifting anything or doing any of my workouts or normal activities...I just live with a little pain. Kind of like a headache that doesn't quite take over your day, but never fully goes away either. The dr's aren't concerned. I realize that there are many side effects to being a living kideny donor. Some are better than others. Take care and see your doctor if it's really persistent or acute.
Terresha Anthony said:
I donated my left kidney a week ago. I have terrible back pain. Standing, sitting, laying down the back pain is horrible. My left thigh is numb hopefully the feeling comes back. Im concerned about this pain I have in my left side under my rib it feels like gas or a cramp. Im glad to know the back pain is normal.
I donated my left kidney to my son 24 year old son July 09. My left thigh was numb for a few months afterwards...but it eventually sent back to normal. The only issue I have is pain in my left shoulder (seems like the shoulder bone) often especially when I lay down.
Interesting. I donated my kidney about 4 months ago. The surgery went well. They did not remove a rib (I didn't even know that has a possibility (ugh!). I was back to work and working out 4 weeks after surgery. I too have recently started to feel a dull pain in my lower right side of my back. It is not debilitating just concerned. It was good to hear from your comments that no one feels there are any issues other than possibly the kidney may be growing back. I feel like I am in unchartered waters and am searching for support. Thanks for writing and giving this forum to hear other people's insights/experiences.
Hi all. I donated my left kidney to my mother almost 3 years ago. She is doing well and the only lasting effect I feel from the surgery is a dull aching pain in my lower back (left side). It is pretty constant as a dull ache and the Drs at my follow up appointments have told me that this is a common side effect for the doners. It gets worse if I am particularly active some days or when the weather is bad. Other than that it is tolerable. It is nice to hear that others are in the same boat!
I took atleast 6 months for the side pain to stop coming and going. I have a bad back and I'm sure it's the epidural. It's effecting my work so I'm gonna have to go to the doctors. Donated my kidney about 11 months ago
I donated a kidney to my brother in 2006. I have been experiencing pain on and off, like a stabbing in between my shoulder blades and hurts when I breath. I was rushed to the hospital this past thanksgiving, I thought I was having a heart attach, it hurt to breath in and when I moved the pain gets stronger an when the ambulance went over bumps the pain got worse. Drs cannot find anything wrong in an X-ray,ct scan or ultra sound. Going for a MRI, wish me luck!
I also donated a right kidney to my brothers fiance. After about 3 weeks I started feeling a very "annoying" ache in my lower right hip area... Love handle area... It's nice to hear it seems to be fairly common.
My friend after receiving a kidney has developed chronic back pain, it keeps her up at night and basically does not allow her to relax. I'm glad to read that this seems like a possible side effect that was not discussed before surgery. The Drs don't know what the cause is, it's quite frustrating
I donated a kidney over 15 yrs ago and in the last couple of years have experienced intermittent right low back pain that seems worse if I'm tired at the end of the day, but improves or goes away after a night's rest. THought it meant an infection was setting in.
After reading all of the comments, it is advisable to visit an orthopedic surgeon to assess the issue. Often when you have stabbing or shooting pain in your lower right side, it is attributed to nerves, spine and the mother of all nerves, sciatic nerve which can be very dibilitating. Also, if you have lower back pain in the left region of the back, visiting a rheumatologist would be helpful as that can indicate arthritis. I'm not a physician but have had my share of back injuries, injections, etc and have seen the above physicians. On this site to help me determine if I should be a donor for a relative being that I already have back issues (e.g. L4/L5 and my spine compressed my nerves while performing an advanced training exercise.) Don't just guess or read the stories of others, get a medical opinion from a specialist. Back issues can be debilitating.
I donated my left kidney to my mom almost 2wks ago Im off my pain meds but I get pain that feel like gas pain or this nerve pinch pain but reading everyone comments I guess its normal. I can't wait til I'm able to be comfortable an actually rest in my sleep. I'm just grateful my mom is well.
I gave my brother my left kidney 4 weeks ago I was off pain meds after about a week and had a pretty speedy recovery. My only concern is back pain more ache after doing light to moderate activity. It use to spasm but now just aches hoping its just the muscles healing and will not linger can't get through a full day with this ache.
i donated almost a year ago to one of my best friends. i am still experiencing back pain from the nephrectomy. not long ago i learned the back pain is coming from something doctors do not discuss with you and i feel this info is pretty accurate because i learned this from a doctor personally. while working organgs are rearranged, tissues are removed, things are clipped. the thing is until the body is readjusted at some point depends on your body you will experience pain from the staples and clips placed inside of you especially when weather changes is when im hurting most. sounds weird and confusing and kind of doesnt nake sense to me but if you watch the youtbe video of laprrascopic nephrectomy you will ki d of get the idea of why back pain kind of occurs. sorry my "info" turned out confusing but the video will help. i just hate im only 23 with amback issues now for a while.