A nephrectomy is the removal of a kidney. This may be done to remove a kidney tumor or a non-working kidney. In some cases a partial nephrectomy (removal of part of the kidney) may be done. The surgery can be done through an open incision (open nephrectomy) or through several small incisions (laparoscopic nephrectomy).
You will need to do a prep to empty stool from your bowel the day before surgery. You will be given a separate handout with the directions for your bowel prep.
- It is normal for you to have some pain in the surgical area for 2 to 4 weeks. Pain pills will be ordered for you. Follow the directions for using these pills.
- You will be walking soon after your surgery. This is very important to your recovery. The pain pills will make it easier for you to move around.
- You will be in the hospital 3-5 days.
- Do not lift more than 15 - 20 pounds for 4 weeks.
- Nothing strenuous until okayed by your doctor.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid per day (any kind of fluid is OK; not alcohol)
- You may shower. Do not soak your incisions in a hot tub or bath tub until they are healed, at least 2 weeks. You may wear Band-Aids® if you need to. Wear Band-Aids if your incisions are in a skin fold, your clothes rub on them or they are draining. Change them at least everyday and more often if they get wet or soiled.
- Resume sexual activity when you feel ready.
- Do not drive for 2 weeks.
- The length of time you will need to be off work depends on your recovery and the type of work you do. Check with your surgeon before going back to work.
Your first follow-up visit will be made for you before you leave the hospital.
When to Call the Doctor
- Incision becomes red, tender or swollen
- Pus-like drainage from the incision or drain site
- Temperature over 100.5° F for two readings taken 4 hours apart
- Decrease in urine output
- Bloody urine
- Shortness or breath or chest pain- call 911
Urology Clinic: (608) 263-4757
Nights, weekends, and holidays this will give you the paging operator or call (608) 262-0486. Ask for the urology doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code.
The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
Your urology doctor is ___________________________________.
Your medical record number is ________________
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/03/2013
Copyright © 04/03/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4415
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