Laparoscopic Nephrectomy

Laparoscopic Nephrectomy

The term 'nephrectomy' means removal of a kidney. Kidney removal may be recommended for: Kidney donation, Birth defects, Kidney cancer, Kidney damaged by infection, Kidney stones, or other problems. A kidney can be removed either using an 'open' surgical approach or using 'keyhole' (laparoscopic) surgery. Open surgery to remove a kidney involves making a large cut on the side with unavoidable problems such as pain, a hospital stay of 7-10 days, and a prolonged time off work.

Procedure

A thin tube with a light and camera on the end (a laparoscope), and surgical instruments is passed through three or four half to one centimetre incisions. The camera sends pictures to a TV screen so that the surgeon can see the kidney and surrounding tissue. One of the incisions will be enlarged to enable the kidney to pass through once it has been disconnected from the surrounding tissues and blood vessels.

A laparoscopic nephrectomy is performed under general anaesthesia. The laparoscopic method of kidney removal has been shown to cause less blood loss and fewer complications than the open method, and also has a shorter recovery time. The open surgical approach to kidney removal is now only used for complicated cases.

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