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    General And Endoscopy Surgery:

Kidney Surgery:

Kidney removal, also called nephrectomy, is a surgical procedure to remove a kidney.

Surgical procedure for removal of kidney

The kidneys are organs in the body that perform vital functions and are necessary to maintain life. Typically, people are born with two kidneys, which are located in the middle of the back, one on each side of the spine. Most people associate the kidneys with urine production. In addition to making urine, the kidneys regulate the body’s fluids, balance the body’s chemicals, remove waste products from the body and release several hormones. Some diseases of the kidneys require total or partial removal of the kidney.

Laparoscopic Nephrectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to remove the kidney. Before the development of this minimally invasive approach, surgeons traditionally performed an “open” abdominal/flank incision 10 to 12 inches long that also required partial removal of a rib. The large incision contributed to a long hospital stay and lengthy recovery. Today surgeons use a minimally invasive approach and can perform the surgery laparoscopically. In the laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes four or five tiny incisions to the abdomen. The surgeon uses a laparoscope, a long slender instrument that contains a camera, to view the internal surgical field.

In some instances, one of the small incisions may be extended two to three inches to assist with the removal of the kidney. Many patients experience a minimal amount of pain/discomfort after surgery. When cleared by your physician you will be able to get out of bed and walk, begin to start eating, and shortly thereafter be discharged home.


This surgery is done under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). The surgeon makes a cut in the abdomen or in the side of the abdomen (flank area). A rib may need to be removed to perform the procedure. The ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) and the blood vessels are cut away from the kidney and the kidney is removed. The cut is then closed. Kidney removal may be done as open surgery, which involves a large cut in the side of the abdomen. Some patients may have laparoscopic surgery, which is less invasive and involves three or four small cuts, usually no more than an inch each, in the abdominal and flank areas.

Kidney removal - series: Normal anatomy

The kidneys are paired organs that lie posterior to the abdomen, in the area of the lower back. The kidneys make urine, which is transported from the kidneys to the bladder by the ureters.


Kidney removal may be recommended for:

  • Birth defects (congenital abnormalities)
  • Injury (trauma)
  • Infection
  • Hypertension
  • Tumor
  • Chronic bleeding
  • Kidney removal is also performed on someone who donates a kidney for a kidney transplant.


Risks for any anesthesia include the following:

  • Reactions to medications
  • Problems breathing

Risks for any surgery include the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Expectations after surgery

Outcome is usually good in the case of the removal of a single kidney. If both kidneys are removed or if the remaining kidney does not function well enough, hemodialysis or kidney transplantation will be necessary to maintain life.


You will be given fluids through an IV and pain medication. Kidney removal surgery is often very painful because of the location. The health care team will carefully watch your blood pressure and electrolytes and fluid balance. These body functions are controlled in part by the kidneys. You will most likely have a urinary catheter (tube to drain urine) in place for a short time during your recovery.

You will probably remain in the hospital for 2 to 7 days, depending on the method of surgery used. You will be encouraged to return to light activities as soon as you feel up to it. Strenuous activity should be avoided for 6 weeks following the procedure.


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