Nephrectomy means surgical removal of a kidney. It is performed for a number of reasons so that the diseased kidney does not affect the other normal kidney & other organs. Some of these are listed below:
- Chronic infection, which has resulted in scarring and loss of function,
- Kidney stones, which have destroyed most of the kidney tissue, and which continues to cause infection,
- Kidney transplant donor,
- To stop uncontrolled bleeding caused by trauma to the kidney,
- Cancer of the kidney.
It is important that you understand the exact nature of the operation when the urosurgeon discusses it with you. If you have any questions about your treatment, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or the nurse looking after you.
- A kidney can be removed either using a surgical approach (Open) or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
- Open surgery to remove a kidney involves making an incision (cut) of about 10 to 20 cm based on the size of kidney on your side to remove the kidney. It is more invasive, involves cutting the rib. It is more painful and a stay in hospital of 7 – 10 days. Recovery time is also prolonged. Patient may require a rest of about 3 -4 weeks.
Latest advanced method is the keyhole (Laparoscopic) method of removing the kidney. It involves having three or four small cuts of about 5mm only.
A thin tube with a light and a high definition camera on the end (laparoscope), and surgical instruments can then be passed through these small incisions. The HD camera sends pictures to a T.V screen so that the surgeon can see the kidney and surrounding tissue, and remove the kidney this way. The procedure is shown live to patient’s relatives on a monitor on patient requests. This type of operation is performed under a general anaesthetic (i.e patient will be asleep).
This method of removing the kidney by key hole surgery has been shown to cause:
- less blood loss,
- more cosmesis due to less scar
- less pain and
- Short hospital stay
- shorter recovery time than having an open operation
- early return to work
Patient will still have one remaining functioning kidney, by which he or she can continue to work & do all routine things as other normal person.