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nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a kidney, performed to treat a number of kidney diseases including kidney cancer. It is also done to remove a normal healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor, which is part of a kidney transplant procedure.


Radical Nephrectomy

Radical nephrectomy is performed through an open incision, laparoscopically or with robot-assisted laparoscopic technologies. While removal of a kidney can affect overall kidney function, most patients with two healthy kidneys will not develop end-stage renal disease or require dialysis after nephrectomy.

Laparoscopic Nephrectomy

Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy controls cancer equally as well as the traditional open procedure. Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is performed through 3 small incisions in the abdomen. The kidney and tumor are removed through a horizontal incision (usually about 3 inches) in the lower abdomen.

Partial Nephrectomy

During a partial nephrectomy, only the cancerous tumor or diseased tissue is removed (center), leaving in place as much healthy kidney tissue as possible. Partial nephrectomy is also called kidney-sparing surgery.

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How painful is a nephrectomy?

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.

How long does it take to heal from a nephrectomy?

Recovering from kidney removal most often takes around 3 to 6 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms: Pain in your belly or on the side where you had the kidney removed. The pain should get better over several days to a week.

How long after nephrectomy can you drive?

You may drive a car locally 2-3 weeks after surgery as long as you are not having pain or taking narcotic pain medications.

How long is hospital stay for laparoscopic nephrectomy?

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.

How long does it take to do a partial nephrectomy?

The operation takes 3-4 hours to complete. In cases where patients are obese, the tumor is large, the anatomy is difficult or there are multiple tumors, the procedure may take longer.