A nephrectomy is surgery to take out part or all of the kidney. One or both kidneys may be taken out. Sometimes other tissue near the kidney is taken out at the same time.
The doctor will put special tools and a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope through several small cuts in your belly. These cuts are called incisions. Then the doctor will remove your kidney through one of the incisions. The incisions will leave scars that will fade with time.
Your body can work fine with one healthy kidney. But if both kidneys are removed, or if the kidney you have left is not healthy, you will need other treatment after surgery. Your doctor will talk to you about this.
You will probably spend 3 or 4 days in the hospital. You will need to take it easy for 4 to 6 weeks at home.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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