Kidney Removal Surgery – Treatment and Procedure

Kidney removal surgery, also known as nephrectomy is a surgery performed in order to remove both or a part of your kidneys. The rate of Kidney transplant in India is pegged at about 5000 transplants a year.

Why do you need a kidney removal surgery?

A nephrectomy is performed if the patient suffers from one of the following problems:

• The kidney is not functioning properly and efficiently
• The kidney is damaged : in case the kidney is not working properly or due to reasons like scarring or damage to the kidney, your doctor may advise kidney removal.
• The patient suffers from kidney cancer : in case the cancer is life threatening or stands a chance of spreading to other parts of the body, your doctor may advise kidney removal to stop it from spreading.
• The patient is donating a kidney : a person can stay healthy even with one kidney.

How to prepare for kidney removal?

The best way to prepare for kidney removal is to have every aspect of your surgery cleared from your surgeon. Have a talk with your surgeon at Apollo Spectra in order to understand the options available to you.

Questions that you might ask your surgeon include the following:

• Am I a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure, be it robotic, laparoscopic or any other similar procedures?
• Do I need a complete or a partial nephrectomy?
• What are the chances of me needing complete nephrectomy even if a partial nephrectomy has been planned for my treatment?
• Keeping my problem in mind, would I need any other related treatments or follow up procedures?

Procedure of kidney removal

Depending upon the area of kidney to be removed, the reason for kidney removal as well as the patient’s medical history, any of the following approaches may be taken by your surgeon at Apollo Spectra:

Laparoscopic Surgery: laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the surgeon making several small incisions in your abdomen. Post this, video cameras, as well as surgical tools, are inserted into your abdomen with the help of a wand-like device, in order to conduct the kidney removal surgery.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery: the robot assisted laparoscopic procedure makes use of a robotic system in order to perform the procedure. The procedure is performed in much the same way as a laparoscopic procedure. This procedure requires the size of the incisions to be very minimal as the robotic system requires very little space to enter the body. The robot assisted laparoscopic kidney removal procedure makes for a better and more efficient procedure as the robotic system is able to provide your surgeon with three dimensional images of your insides, thus enabling better accuracy. The robotic arm is able to emulate the surgeon’s hand movements performed during an open surgery, thus giving similar results to an open surgery, without the requirement of larger incisions.

Radical Nephrectomy: the radical nephrectomy procedure involves the complete removal of the entire kidney along with the portion of the tube connecting the kidney to the ureter as well as the fatty tissues that surround the kidney. If required, your surgeon may also remove the adrenal gland during the radical nephrectomy procedure. Some other tissues and the lymph nodes may also be removed by your surgeon, if required.

Partial Nephrectomy: also known as the nephron-sparing or kidney sparing surgery, the partial nephrectomy procedure involves the removal of a diseased or cancerous tissue from the kidney, while preserving as much healthy kidney tissue as possible.

Open Surgery: the open surgery is the traditional method of kidney removal that involves the surgeon making an incision either on your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen, in order to facilitate kidney removal.

Results of kidney removal surgery

The results of kidney removal surgery involve relief from symptoms that prompted the kidney removal in the first place.

Risks of kidney removal surgery

Risks associated with kidney removal surgery include the following:

• Stroke
• Loss of blood
• Heart attack
• Allergic reactions to medications or anesthesia
• Breathing difficulties
• Infection at the site of the surgery
• Pulmonary embolism – referring to the formation of blood clots in the legs, which may then move to the lungs.
• Injury to the tissues or organs surrounding the kidney
• Bulging out of other organs through the surgical incision, also known as hernia

The risk of the above listed problems is generally less for a kidney donor as compared to someone who needed the kidney removal surgery. This is usually because patients who need a kidney removal surgery are usually at higher risks of developing other health conditions as well.

Recovery from kidney removal surgery

• Recovery from kidney removal surgery usually takes about three to six weeks in most cases.
• A hospital stay of up to 7 days may be required post surgery.

The outlook for kidney removal surgery is generally very good, even if you have only one functioning kidney left. Your surgeon at Apollo Spectra may recommend regular check ups and monitoring for a certain period of time post the kidney removal surgery.

Certain diet restrictions as well as exercising routines may be recommended by your doctor in order to facilitate quick recovery from the kidney removal surgery. You are generally advised to refrain from strenuous activities for several weeks post surgery.

Monitoring kidney function post surgery

Regular checkup and monitoring of your kidney functioning is required post a kidney removal surgery. At Apollo Spectra, we use the following tests and indications to monitor your symptoms post a kidney removal surgery:

• Waste filtrations: the glomerular filtration test is the test performed for measuring the creatinine levels in the blood. The Glomerular filtration rate is the measure that is calculated, indicating the efficiency of the filtration of waste by your kidneys. A decrease in the Glomerular filtration rate indicates the decreased efficiency of kidney function.
• Blood pressure: higher levels of blood pressure are indicative of decreased kidney function, making it necessary to keep an eye on your blood pressure, post kidney removal surgery.
• Protein levels in the urine: higher levels of protein in the urine are also indicative of less efficient functioning of the kidney.

Our surgeons at Apollo Spectra are qualified and trained to perform complicated nephrectomies. To ensure that the patient is treated in the best way possible, surgeons and other specialists work together as a team. Apollo Spectra is a leader in providing care to patients as well as surgical procedures. Precision is of the utmost importance to us, so we at Apollo Spectra make sure that the patient is treated with great efficiency. Our team approach, state-of-the-art technology and expertise ensure the best results for our patients. Each patient’s current situation is observed and then the treatment plan is made by all our experts together.


How long does it usually take to remove a kidney?

The usual length of a kidney removal surgery is around 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Can you consume alcohol with the only kidney?

It is advisable to limit your consumption of alcohol to post a kidney removal surgery as excessive alcohol can damage the kidney.