Kidney removal

Definition

Kidney removal, or nephrectomy, is surgery to remove all or part of a kidney. It may involve:

Alternative Names

Nephrectomy; Simple nephrectomy; Radical nephrectomy; Open nephrectomy; Laparoscopic nephrectomy; Partial nephrectomy

Description

This surgery is done in the hospital while you are asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). The procedure can take 3 or more hours.

Simple nephrectomy or open kidney removal:

Radical nephrectomy or open kidney removal:

Laparoscopic kidney removal:

Sometimes, your surgeon may make a cut in a different place than described above.

Some hospitals and medical centers are doing this surgery using robots.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Kidney removal may be recommended for:

Risks

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this procedure are:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You will stay in the hospital for 2 to 7 days, depending on the type of the surgery you have. During a hospital stay, you may:

Recovering from open surgery may be painful because of where the surgical cut is. Recovery after a laparoscopic procedure is usually quicker, with less pain.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is usually good when a single kidney is removed. If both kidneys are removed, or the remaining kidney does not work well enough, you will need hemodialysis or a kidney transplant.

References

Kavoussi LR, Schwartz MJ, Gill IS. Laparoscopic surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 55.

Kenney PA, Wotkowicz T, Libertino JA. Contemporary open surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 54.


Review Date: 10/9/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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