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.
Nephrectomy may be recommended for:
While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made in the abdomen or in the side of the abdomen (flank).
The tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureter) and the blood vessels are cut away from the kidney and the kidney is removed. The incision is then closed. This opoeration is called a nephrectomy.
Patients are generally in the hospital after surgery for 3-5 days. The removal of one kidney generally has no health consequences as long as the remaining kidney is functioning well. Some centers are now performing nephrectomies using laparoscopic surgical techniques.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.