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Notes on Operations


This is the removal of a kidney. The commonest reason for removal of a kidney is cancer, either of the kidney itself or the tubes that collect the urine. Kidneys are also removed if they have been blocked for many years and are not functioning.

The patient is admitted the day before surgery. The operation is carried out under a general anaesthetic taking between one and two hours on average. Remember that the the patient needs time to be anaesthetised and wake up, the patient is often therefore in the theatre complex for up to 4 hours in total. We often give people an epidural for pain relief, this means that patients often return initially to the high dependency unit rather than the ward.

Patients who are having the kidney removed because of cancer in the urine collecting part of the kidney will have both the kidney and the kidney water pipe (ureter) removed. This sometimes has to be done with a second incision in the lower part of the abdomen.

The loin wound is quite painful and it is usually a couple of days before the epidural is taken down. When it is removed the tube that drains the bladder will also be taken out (in most patients) and the patient generally starts to feel much better. Most people go home approximately seven days after surgery.

Complications are possible after nephrectomy like any surgery, the commonest being chest infection (particularly if you are a smoker) or DVT (blood clot in the legs).

Recovery at Home

Following nephrectomy it is common to tire much more rapidly for at least six weeks. It is best to only attempt light pottering for the first two weeks after surgery, building up to walks etc after. For anything other than office jobs patients can expect to return to work at about 3 months.

Longer Term

Nephrectomy wounds can be painful for quite some time, including aches and pains from time to time many years into the future, it is extremely unusual for these to be the result of the return of your original disease but should still be discussed with your doctor should they be unusual.





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Kidney Removal

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