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Living Kidney Donation

Types of Surgery

How is the kidney removed?

The surgery to take out the donor’s kidney is called a nephrectomy (nephro = kidney and ectomy = take out or remove). This can be done in 2 ways.

  1. Open nephrectomy: A single large cut (incision) is made in your belly (abdomen) and side. The incision would be 15 to 26 cm (6 to 10 inches) long.
  2. Laparoscopic nephrectomy: A few, very small cuts are made in your belly (abdomen). These are used to put surgical instruments into the abdomen. A very small camera is also used to help the surgical team see inside. Then a 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inch) incision is made so they can take out the kidney. Occasionally during the surgery, the procedure may need to be changed from laparoscopic to open nephrectomy.​​​​

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