A nephrectomy is surgery to take out part or all of the kidney. One or both kidneys may have been taken out. Sometimes other tissue near the kidney is taken out at the same time. The doctor took out your kidney through a long cut, called an incision, in the front or side of your belly. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
Your belly will feel sore after the surgery. This usually lasts about 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor will give you pain medicine for this. You may also have other symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, gas, or a headache.
At first, you may have low energy and get tired quickly. It may take 3 to 6 months for your energy to fully return.
Your body can work fine with one healthy kidney. If both kidneys are removed or your remaining kidney is not healthy, your doctor will talk to you about the kind of treatment you will need after surgery.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I988 in the search box to learn more about "Open Nephrectomy: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.