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.