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How Painful Is Kidney Removal Surgery

Care Of The Remaining Kidney

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Tests will be done on a regular basis to check how well the remaining kidney is working. A urinalysis and blood pressure check should be done every year, and kidney function tests should be checked every few years . Regular urine tests for protein should be performed as well. The presence of protein in the urine may mean that the kidney has some damage.

People with one kidney should avoid sports that involve higher risks of heavy contact or collision. This includes, but is not limited to, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rodeo, soccer and wrestling. This may also include extreme activities such as skydiving. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding. He or she should understand that losing the remaining kidney is a very serious situation.

Removal Of An Adrenal Gland

Although this is a standard part of a radical nephrectomy, if the cancer is in the lower part of the kidney and imaging tests show the adrenal gland is not affected, it might not have to be removed. Just like with lymph node removal, this is decided on an individual basis and should be discussed with the doctor before surgery.

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What Is The Difference Between A Laparoscopic And Open Surgery

Surgeons use two different techniques for nephrectomies. A laparoscopic nephrectomy uses a small tool with a camera and a few tiny incisions. In a robotic-assisted laparoscopic case, a surgical robot is controlled by the surgeon to manipulate these small tools. An open nephrectomy uses one large incision. Surgeons view directly inside the body and do not use a camera.

Laparoscopic nephrectomy may lead to shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times. However, surgeons may use open surgery if laparoscopic surgery is not an option. For example, laparoscopic surgery often requires longer periods under anesthesia. Some people may not respond well to being under anesthesia for long periods. Also, others may have a large kidney tumor for which these minimally-invasive techniques may not be the best choice. In these cases, an open approach could be safer.

Day Before Your Surgery

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Note the time of your surgery

A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, theyll call you on the Friday before. If you dont get a call by 7:00 pm, call .

The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. Theyll also remind you where to go.

Eat a light diet

Eat a light diet, such as small sandwiches, eggs, toast, crackers, soup, or cereal. Limit the amount of dairy products, and avoid fried foods and foods with a lot of seasoning.

Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser

The night before your surgery, shower using a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser.

  • Use your normal shampoo to wash your hair. Rinse your head well.
  • Use your normal soap to wash your face and genital area. Rinse your body well with warm water.
  • Open the 4% CHG solution bottle. Pour some into your hand or a clean washcloth.
  • Move away from the shower stream. Rub the 4% CHG solution gently over your body from your neck to your feet. Dont put it on your face or genital area.
  • Move back into the shower stream to rinse off the 4% CHG solution. Use warm water.
  • Dry yourself off with a clean towel after your shower.
  • Dont put on any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne after your shower.
  • Instructions for eating before your surgery

    Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.

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    What Is A Nephrectomy

    A nephrectomy is the surgical removal of one kidney. Bilateral nephrectomy is the surgical removal of both kidneys.

    There are two types of nephrectomy procedures:

    • Partial nephrectomy, where a surgeon removes only the diseased portion of the kidney. You may have an open partial nephrectomy or a laparoscopic/robotic partial nephrectomy.
    • Radical nephrectomy, where a surgeon removes the entire kidney. Surgeons may also remove a section of the ureter , in a procedure called nephroureterectomy. They may also remove the adrenal glands . This may also be performed as an open or laparoscopic/robotic procedure.

    Hull University Teaching Hospitals Nhs Trust

    • Reference Number: HEY-653/2021
    • Departments: Urology

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    This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

    What is a laparoscopic nephrectomy?

    A laparoscopic nephrectomy is the technical term used for someone who has had their kidney removed by keyhole surgery.

    What to expect after the operation


    You can expect between 3 and 5 small scars at different points on your abdomen. One of these will be longer than the others as it is through this wound that the kidney is removed. Most stitches will not require any removal as they will slowly dissolve over time. However if you do have stitches that need to be removed your doctor or nurse will advise you when they should be removed.


    You do not need to keep the scars covered though some people find it more comfortable to do so. You do not need to worry about getting your scars wet and may bathe or shower as usual.

    Tiredness and feeling emotional

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    Who Performs A Nephrectomy

    The following specialists perform a nephrectomy:

    • Urologists specialize in diseases and conditions of the urinary tract and the male reproductive organs.

    • Pediatric urologists specialize in diseases and conditions of the urinary tract and male reproductive organs in infants, children and adolescents.

    • Transplant surgeons specialize in transplant surgery of the kidney, liver, pancreas, and other organs.

    Surgery For Kidney Cancer

    Robotic Kidney Surgery

    Surgery is the main treatment for most kidney cancers and many times it can cure the cancer by itself.

    Depending on the stage and location of the cancer and other factors, surgery might be done to remove the entire kidney including the tumor or the cancer alone along with some of the surrounding kidney tissue . Sometimes, the adrenal gland and fatty tissue around the kidney is removed as well. In certain cases, the nearby lymph nodes might also be removed.

    Some people whose cancer has spread to other organs may benefit from surgery that takes out the kidney tumor. Removing the kidney might also lessen symptoms such as pain and bleeding.

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    Where Can I Get More Information

    Contact the National Kidney Foundation for information at 800.622.9010. If you have Internet access, you can find more information at or at NKFs Kidney Learning System ® Web site at

    You can also get more information from the following organizations:

    • National Cancer Institute, 1-800-4-CANCER , or online at
    • National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse , a service of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Call 1-800-891-5390 or visit the website at

    Date Reviewed: July 2009

    If you would like more information, please contact us.

    What Happens After A Kidney Is Surgically Removed

    Heres a general idea of what you can expect after your kidney cancer surgery:

    • Following your procedure, your treatment team will check in with you regularly to examine your incision and assess your comfort level.
    • Typically, you will resume eating solid food within 24-48hrs after surgery, which is important because good nutrition can help your body heal. During this time you will also be transitioned to oral pain medication.
    • Most patients will be discharged from the hospital after 1-2 nights in the hospital so that you can continue your recovery in the comfort of your own home. Patients with larger or more advanced tumors may expect to stay in the hospital around 2-4 days. Youll likely be scheduled for a follow-up appointment in 2-4 weeks. At that time, your surgeon will advise when you can return to work and resume other activities.
    • Because physical activity can boost your circulation and decrease the risk of blood clots, you will be encouraged to exercise throughout your recovery from kidney cancer surgery. Soon afterward, a member of the care team will help you get out of bed and begin some light walking. As you start moving, you may experience some initial discomfort, which should gradually improve with time.

    Medically reviewed by Brandon Manley, MD, Department of Genitourinary Oncology.

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    How Do I Prepare For Kidney Removal

    Be sure to tell your doctor and surgeon if you might be pregnant. Also, inform them about all medications youre taking, including those that are over the counter. You may need to stop taking certain medications before the surgery, especially blood thinners.

    Several days before the surgery, your doctor will draw blood. This will determine your blood type in case you need a transfusion during the procedure.

    You will also need to fast and stop drinking liquids for a period before surgery.

    Within 30 Days Of Your Surgery

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    Presurgical Testing

    Before your surgery, youll have an appointment for presurgical testing . The date, time, and location will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeons office. Its helpful to bring the following things to your PST appointment:

    • A list of all the medications youre taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.
    • Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
    • The name and telephone number of your healthcare provider.

    You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your appointment.

    During your PST appointment, youll meet with a nurse practitioner . They work closely with anesthesiology staff . Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests, such as an electrocardiogram to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests needed to plan your care. Your NP may also recommend that you see other healthcare providers.

    Your NP will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.

    Identify your caregiver

    Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. Before your surgery, you and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare providers. After your surgery, your caregiver will take you home when youre discharged from the hospital. Theyll also help you care for yourself at home.

    For caregivers


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    How Do I Prepare For My Nephrectomy

    As with all surgeries, a nephrectomy involves risks and possible complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during surgery or recovery.

    General risks of surgery

    • Taking your medications exactly as directed

    • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies

    You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for a nephrectomy by:

    Questions to ask your doctor

    Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctors office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before surgery and between appointments.

    It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

    When Did I Have My Right Kidney Removed

    I had my right kidney removed laparoscopically almost 3 years ago too. Within a month after my surgery, I had a few, severe pains that felt like something had snapped.

    I have had my left kidney removed and was in the hospital for over 2 months and feel something went wrongI have excruciating pain in my abdomen and numbess. Does anyone think maybe I had the wrong doctor for this procedure? Loading I had my right kidney removed one month ago today.

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    How Is The Adrenal Gland Removed In A Nephrectomy

    Radical nephrectomy. In a radical nephrectomy, the surgeon removes the whole kidney, the fatty tissues surrounding the kidney and a portion of the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder . The surgeon may remove the adrenal gland that sits atop the kidney if a tumor is close to or involves the adrenal gland.

    Why Have Your Kidney Stone Removal At St Pete Urology

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    At St Pete Urology, our urologists frequently treat patients with kidney stones of different types, locations and sizes. We perform hundreds of kidney stone surgeries every year, using mostly minimally invasive and robotic procedures.

    Your condition will be managed by specialists who will recommend the best procedure, apply a personalized treatment plan, and deliver top-notch follow-up care. We will see you through your recovery period and monitor your progress to make sure you are in the best of health.

    For more information on kidney stone prevention, diagnosis and treatment, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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    Renal Masses Kidney Cancer & Kidney Surgery

    Every year, 28,000 Americans learn they have kidney cancer. A mass on the kidney may be detected with an ultrasound or CT scan. Additional testing, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging, can help determine if the mass is cancerous. Even with proper imaging, approximately 20% of solid renal masses will ultimately prove to be benign. Some people with kidney cancer may notice the presence of blood in their urine, back pain or an abdominal mass or hard lump or there may be no outward symptoms at all.

    Kidney cancer is most common in men over age 40. Unfortunately, the disease often goes undiagnosed until it has spread. Surgical removal of the entire kidney may be required. Now there is a technique for removing the diseased kidney that is less invasive than traditional surgery.

    The procedure is called a laparoscopic nephrectomy.

    What is a laparoscopic nephrectomy?A laparoscopic nephrectomy is a procedure for removing diseased kidneys in place of conventional surgery. It is a very delicate and precision-oriented procedure, which should be performed only by highly experienced surgeons. Laparoscopic surgery is sometimes called “keyhole” surgery because it involves relatively small incisions. The surgeon uses an endoscope and small “ports” through which miniature instruments are passed. The scope enables the surgeon to watch what he or she is doing on video monitors.

    Postoperative Information

    Problems You Should Report To Us:

    Kidney Cancer Post Surgery Pain


    I am just over 12 months post kidney cancer surgery. I was diagnosed following sudden pain and hemorrhage and was rushed into hospital needing embolisation after which both kidney and tumor were removed. Prior to this I had no health problems and suffered no pain. After surgery I had bad back pain that was dismissed at the time, I changed consultants and hospital due to poor after care. Since then the pain has persisted and is now accompanied by some right abdominal pain. I take gabapentin pain relief daily but there is no firm diagnosis of why the pain persists other than possible nerve damage. My GP has been excellent.

    Is there anyone else suffering similar following nephrectomy? Debbie

    2 likes, 23 replies

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    Recovery Time After Kidney Removal

    I wanted to know from people that have had a kidney removed how long they were in hospital and how long they were off work for, I am an office working but would have to drive 7 miles to and from work but no heavy lifting involved.

    Hello Archer,

    I see no-one has spotted your question yet – this answer should put it back up to the top of the list even though I have been of no help to you whatsoever! You may have to re-ask it in ‘Ask the Nurses’ section, or phone them on the helpline. Hopefully someone spots your question who has been through a similar operation. Meanwhile I found lots of info on my Dads Cancer treatments and surgery on the Macmillan Cancer Care Website, Cancer Research’s website is pretty informative too. Best of luck to you, Katielouie

    What Happens Before A Nephrectomy

    Recovery Time for Kidney Stone Surgery

    Before kidney surgery, your healthcare provider will give you instructions about how to prepare. You’ll need to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, in the days before the operation. Your surgeon will also likely instruct you to fast and stop drinking liquids the night before the procedure.

    A few days before surgery, your healthcare provider will draw blood. This test determines your blood type in case you need a blood transfusion, and will also determine baseline kidney function and blood counts

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