Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a kidney. This procedure is done through several small incisions in your abdomen. In this procedure, you may have your entire kidney and some surrounding structures removed (radical nephrectomy), or you may have only the damaged or diseased part of your kidney removed (partial nephrectomy). In instances where a bone or additional tissue need to be removed to allow access to your kidney, the laparoscopic procedure may need to be changed to an open procedure.
You may need this surgery if your kidney is severely damaged from kidney disease, infection, or cancer. You may also need this procedure if you were born with an abnormal kidney or if you are donating a healthy kidney.
Tell a health care provider about:
- Any allergies you have.
- All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
- Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
- Any blood disorders you have.
- Any surgeries you have had.
- Any medical conditions you have.
- Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:
- Damage to other body structures near the kidney.
- Allergic reactions to medicines.
- Ask your health care provider about:
- Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
- Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines before your procedure unless directed by your health care provider.
- Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating or drinking restrictions.
- Plan to have someone take you home after the procedure.
- Do not use tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
- Ask your health care provider how your surgical site will be marked or identified.
- You may be given antibiotic medicine to help prevent infection.
What Happens During The Procedure?
- An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins.
- You will be given a medicine that makes you fall asleep (general anesthetic).
- A tube will be inserted to drain urine (urinary catheter).
- A small incision will be made in your abdomen to insert a thin telescope with a camera (laparoscope). This lets your surgeon see your kidney during the procedure.
- More small incisions will be made to insert laparoscopic operating tools.
- If you are having a partial nephrectomy, only the diseased part of your kidney will be removed.
- If you are having a radical nephrectomy:
- All of the blood vessels that attach to your kidney will be separated and tied off.
- Part of the tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder will be removed.
- Your kidney will be removed.
- One incision may be slightly larger to remove your kidney.
- Bleeding in the surgical area will be controlled.
- The incisions will be closed with stitches (sutures) or another type of closure.
Post Procedure Care
- Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored often until the medicines you were given have worn off.
- Your IV will stay in place until you can drink fluids on your own. Your urine output will be checked.
- Your urinary catheter may be removed.
- You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible.
- You will be shown how to do breathing exercises, such as coughing and breathing deeply. These help prevent pneumonia.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.