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Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Kidney Removal

Nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a kidney. The procedure is done to treat kidney cancer as well as other kidney diseases and injuries. Nephrectomy is also done to remove a healthy kidney from a donor (either living or deceased) for transplantation. Thousands of nephrectomies are performed every year in the U.S.

Laparoscopic surgery involves the use of a laparoscope (wand-like camera) that is passed through a series of small incisions or “ports” in the abdominal wall. It is used to view the abdominal cavity and remove the kidney through a small incision. The procedure is done under general anesthesia (you are asleep and do not feel any pain).  Kidney surgery requires little special post hospital care.

When you get home:


When you return home you may return to your normal diet immediately. We suggest you start with lighter (non-fried) foods. To avoid constipation, drink plenty of fluids during the day (8 - 10 glasses).


You may resume normal activity including walking outside, climbing stairs and going out for dinner. You should not resume any form of strenuous activity (jogging, tennis, golf, treadmill, etc.) for 6 weeks after surgery. Then, increase this as tolerated. You may drive a car locally 2-3 weeks after surgery as long as you are not having pain or taking narcotic pain medications.


You should resume your pre-surgery medication unless told not to. In addition, you will often be given some type of pain medication. These should be taken as prescribed on the side of the bottle unless you are having an unusual reaction to one of the drugs.


Your incision is sealed from outside bacteria within 2 days of surgery. Nonetheless, you should protect it from dirt and soiling for the first 10 days or so. The incision will be tender for the first week and the edges should not be pulled apart. The steri-strips should be left on for at least 10-14 days, if possible. After this period, you may remove the steri-strips. If a new area of redness or swelling occurs, please let us know. You may take a shower, but not a bath for the first 2 weeks. Do not scrub the incision or steri-strips. Just let the soap and water run over them and pat them dry.

Side Effects:


It is important to keep your bowels regular during the postoperative period. Use a mild laxative if needed and call if you are having problems. (Milk of Magnesia 2-3 Tablespoons, or 2 Dulcolax tablets for example). You may also wish to take a stool softener (Colace 100 mg twice per day) for a couple of weeks after surgery. If this results in loose stools, decrease to once per day or stop completely.

 Problems you should report to us:

  • Fevers over 101.3 Fahrenheit
  • Increasing pain, swelling or redness of the incision
  • Drug reactions (Hives, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • If you have persistent nausea or vomiting

Follow Up:

You will need a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress. Call your physician’s office to schedule an appointment when you get home or from the phone in your hospital room before leaving. Usually the first appointment will be about 7 - 14 days after your surgery.