Kidney Removal (Nephrectomy)

Kidney Removal (Nephrectomy)

A nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a kidney, performed to treat a number of kidney diseases including kidney cancer. It is also done to remove a normal healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor, when part of a kidney transplant procedure. During a radical nephrectomy, the urologic surgeon removes the entire kidney and often some additional structures, such as part of the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder (ureter), or other adjacent structures such as the adrenal gland or lymph nodes.

What are the types of kidney removal surgery?

  • Simple nephrectomy

    A simple nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney. Your surgeon will make a cut up to 12 inches long in your side. The surgeon will cut away your kidney’s blood vessels and its connections to your bladder. Your surgeon will then remove the entire organ. They may need to remove a rib to access your kidney.

  • Partial nephrectomy

    This procedure involves removing only part of your kidney. The procedure is very similar to a simple nephrectomy. However, your surgeon may be able to use a smaller incision.

  • Laparoscopic surgery

    This technique, also called a keyhole surgery, can be used for either a simple or partial nephrectomy. Instead of one long incision, your surgeon will make a series of smaller incisions in your abdomen. They will insert a camera and other small instruments through the incisions. This will allow the surgeon to see inside you and remove your kidney. This type of surgery is usually less painful than open surgery. Recovery time is reduced as well.