Nephrectomy; Simple nephrectomy; Radical nephrectomy; Open nephrectomy; Laparoscopic nephrectomy; Partial nephrectomy
Kidney removal, or nephrectomy, is surgery to remove all or part of a kidney. It may involve:
This surgery is done in the hospital while you are asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). The procedure can take 3 or more hours.
Simple nephrectomy or open kidney removal:
Radical nephrectomy or open kidney removal:
Laparoscopic kidney removal:
Sometimes, your surgeon may make a cut in a different place than described above.
Some hospitals and medical centers are doing this surgery using robots.
Kidney removal may be recommended for:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this procedure are:
Always tell your health care provider:
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
You will stay in the hospital for 2 to 7 days, depending on the type of surgery you have. During a hospital stay, you may:
Recovering from open surgery may be painful because of where the surgical cut is located. Recovery after a laparoscopic procedure is most often quicker, with less pain.
The outcome is most often good when a single kidney is removed. If both kidneys are removed, or the remaining kidney does not work well enough, you will need hemodialysis or a kidney transplant.
Kavoussi LR, Schwartz MJ, Gill IS. Laparoscopic surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 55.
Kenney PA, Wotkowicz T, Libertino JA. Contemporary open surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 54.
Last reviewed on: 1/21/2015
Reviewed by: Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.