Medical Encyclopedia


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Kidney removal

Contents of this page:


Kidney removal - series
Kidney removal - series

Alternative Names    Return to top

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

Definition    Return to top

Kidney removal, also called nephrectomy, is surgery to remove all or part of a kidney. You may be having:

Description    Return to top

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

For simple nephrectomy or open kidney removal:

For radical nephrectomy or open kidney removal:

For laparoscopic surgery:

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. See also: Robotic surgery

Why the Procedure is Performed    Return to top

Kidney removal may be recommended for:

Risks    Return to top

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this procedure are:

Before the Procedure    Return to top

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure    Return to top

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)    Return to top

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    Return to top

Novick AC. Open surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 50.

Update Date: 3/4/2009

Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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