Kidney Removal Surgery: The procedure, risks, complications, reasons, preparations

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Kidney Removal Surgery: The procedure, risks, complications, reasons, preparations

Kidney Removal is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a kidney. The Kidney Removal procedure involves a kidney, the surrounding blood vessels attached to the kidney, and ureters. The ureter is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. A kidney removal procedure is also known as Nephrectomy, Partial Nephrectomy or Radical Nephrectomy.

What are the reasons behind a kidney removal procedure?

A kidney removal procedure is performed for the following reasons:

How a kidney removal procedure is performed?

The kidney removal (nephrectomy) procedure is performed in the following manner:

  • The surgeon makes a skin incision on either the flank or on the front of the belly, below the ribcage
  • After dissecting through the layers of the abdominal wall, the abdominal organs are visualized. The kidney and its blood vessels are then visualized
  • After clamping the blood supply to the kidney and the ureter, the surgeon removes the kidney either in portions (partial) or entirely (along with a portion of the ureter in which case the procedure is termed a Simple Nephrectomy)
  • Sometimes, the kidney is removed along with adjacent structures (part of the ureter, adrenal gland found on top of the kidney, and surrounding fat) a procedure termed Radical Nephrectomy, which is performed in some cases of cancer
  • The vessels and the ureter are sutured. The abdominal wall is then closed in layers, and the incision wound is sutured

A urologist or general surgeon performs a kidney removal procedure. A kidney removal procedure may take up to 3 hours.

Preparations needed before a kidney removal procedure

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Normally local anaesthesia is not used however do inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products, for a while, before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Diagnostic lab tests needed before a kidney removal procedure

Before a kidney removal procedure, the patient has to undergo certain tests, such as:

Risks and complications during kidney removal surgical procedure

The possible risks or complications that may arise during the kidney removal surgery are:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Anaesthetic complications
  • Accidental injury to the vena cava, or to other neighbouring organs surrounding the kidney

Risks and complications after kidney removal surgical procedure

The possible risks and complications that may arise after kidney removal surgery are:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound

Post-operative care needed after a kidney removal surgical procedure

  • Slowly resume daily activities as early as possible, which aids in a faster recovery
  • Use a heat pad or warm compress to relieve pain due to the incision
  • Resume showering and keep the wound clean and dry. Avoid taking baths, until the surgical wound is completely healed. Gently wash the surgical wound with an unscented soap
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication, as advised by your physician
  • Take stool softeners to prevent constipation
  • Take antibiotic medications to help combat or prevent infection, as advised by your physician
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications, such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain (under advise from the physician)
  • Avoid all activities that are physically strenuous for about 6 weeks after surgery
  • Resume driving only after 5 weeks of being discharged from the hospital, or when advised by your physician
  • Avoid sex, till complete healing has taken place (under advise by the physician)
  • Individuals are advised to have to clear liquids immediately after surgery, until the gastrointestinal tract begins functioning properly. Then, individuals are advised to have a well-balanced diet, which can aid in a faster recovery
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