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 operation is called a nephrectomy.
Patients are generally in the hospital after surgery for 3 to 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.
Review Date: 1/10/2021
Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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