Nephrectomy is removal of the kidney which is done when it is damaged. It can be of two types depending on the removal. If the whole kidney is being removed it is known as radical nephrectomy. It can also be done to remove only a diseased part which has been severely injured/damaged known as partial nephrectomy. Usually nephrectomy is performed to destroy malignant cells which might have been thriving on the kidney. This procedure is surgical and can be performed openly or through laparoscopy. The term doesn’t limit itself to removal due to malfunction, a donor nephrectomy is conducted when some one is willing to donate a kidney for transplant. If the patient has to remove both the kidneys the procedure is called bilateral nephrectomy.
Some patients who undergo a laparoscopic nephrectomy are put on a bladder catheter after anaesthesia. This is a minimally invasive procedure where the surgeon uses a camera called the laparoscope which is put inside the body using very small incisions. This method surpasses all the difficulties faced during open surgery. There are only slightly visible scars, recovery time is shorter and post operative complications are hardly there. This procedure may not be performed in all hospitals and can be done if the patient is in a good medical condition.
Open nephrectomy is performed with the help of anaesthesia. Incisions around the abdomen are made along with this the ureter which carries urine is also cut. Certain people would have to get their rib also removed in order for the surgeon to access the kidney easily. All the torn parts are sewn together after the procedure is completed. After the nephrectomy is done, it is advised that the patient takes rest in the hospital at least for a week along with avoiding stressful activities. In the hospital, the patients blood pressure and fluid balance are kept under watch as they are functions of the kidney. Some patients may complain of numbness which can be taken care of with administration of pain killers. There might also be difficulties in breathing as the incisions are made in close proximity to the diaphragm. If not performed in a proper manner patients could face complications like hemorrhage, infection, pneumonia etc.