Open Nephrectomy

What is a nephrectomy?

The removal of one kidney containing a suspected cancer, with surrounding fat. It is performed through a cut in the front or side of the abdomen. Lymph glands or the adrenal gland may also be removed.

Why do I need this?

  • To remove a kidney tumour, and determine if a cancer is present and its extent
  • Also performed to remove a kidney damaged by obstruction, stones, or infection

How long does it take?

1 – 3 hours under a general anaesthetic

What are the risks?

  • Infection – antibiotics are given
  • Bleeding and need for blood transfusion
  • Numbness, bulge or hernia at the wound site
  • Injury to large bowel, spleen or liver – very rare

What can I expect after surgery?

  • You will stay in the High Dependency Unit overnight
  • A bladder catheter and wound drain are left for 1 – 2 days
  • Physiotherapy to assist mobility and deep breathing may be needed
  • Hospital stay is 5 – 7 days
  • You will be given a postop review appointment about 6 weeks following surgery
  • Avoid strenuous activity for 6 – 8 weeks

Living with one kidney

One kidney can easily support a normal and active life. There is no need to limit activities or lifestyle.