Radical Nephrectomy - Procedure, Risks, Tests, Recovery

Radical Nephrectomy - Procedure, Risks, Tests, Recovery

The word nephro means Kidney whence ecotomy indicates removal. Thus, a nephrectomy refers to the surgical removal of a kidney. It would be called a simple nephrectomy if your doctor decides to remove your entire organ. If only partial removal is considered, the process becomes partial nephrectomy.

Radical nephrectomy is a process where your surgeon removes the entire kidney as well as accumulated fats from all surrounding areas. You may have to pass through this procedure when your doctor finds out about any kidney disease or injury, or kidney cancer. The same procedure is applicable in cases where you are donating a kidney.

When does your doctor decide to perform a Radical Nephrectomy?

More than often, the process helps cure kidney cancer. However, a surgeon may also take it to remove a benign tumor, if the tumor shows the potential to become cancerous afterward. Radical nephrectomy also helps to treat a seriously damaged or diseased kidney.

During such a performance, an expert urologic surgeon works through a single incision in your abdomen or any other disease-affected area. The laparoscopic process has also become popular for its less invasive nature.

A newly-invented procedure called robotic surgery has made it an easier task for surgeons. They can now control the entire procedure just by sitting at a computer console near the surgical table. The camera arm and mechanical arms contain instruments required and are inserted within the patient’s body.


We believe that a Radical nephrectomy is done to remove tumor/s from the urinal organ. Besides cancerous ones, surgeons remove the benign ones too. All noncancerous tumors obstruct kidney functioning; besides, these could re-grow into malignant with time too.

Help the organ function

Urinal organs stay in double for smoothened excretion process. These are fist-shaped and are located near the upper abdomen back. These organs

  • Produce urine
  • Filter wastes and excess fluid from your blood.
  • Electrolytes are also filtered
  • These work to maintain proper mineral levels in our bloodstream
  • Hormones that help regulate your blood pressure are also produced here. These influence the amount or number of circulating red blood cells into our body too.

Accumulation of cells in this zone hinders the process. Radical nephrectomy helps clear such obstacles.

Treating cancer

Radical nephrectomy aims at removing the cancerous tumor or other accumulated tissues. Kidney cancer starts in the cells that line the small tubes within our kidneys.

Your surgeon decides to make partial or whole organ removal based on some other facts:

  • How much the tumor is confiscated from the organ?
  • Tumors count.
  • How much of your organ is affected.
  • If cancer spreads to any of the adjacent tissues.
  • Functioning creed of all other kidneys.
  • If you have any prevalent disease that may affect your kidney functioning.
  • The overall health of the organ.

Your doctor orders several diagnostic tests for doubt clearance and makes for a radical decision:

  • Computerized tomography; comes with finer cross-sectional soft tissue views.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging; with the help of magnetic field and radio waves, such test produces three-dimensional images of cross-sectional views.
  • USG – sound waves produce soft-tissue images.

Covering other conditions

Radical nephrectomy also helps in removing severely damaged, scarred, or nonfunctioning kidney tissues. Often it occurs from traumatic injury or different other diseases.


Risks are highly potent for any surgery and kidney surgery is no exception. However, your doctor is bound to inform you about any potential risks and complications associated with a Radical nephrectomy procedure.

Your urology surgeon would weigh several factors before declaring those risks. You will know about entire predominant terms associated with surgery risks that take the inclusion of:

  • Surgery type.
  • Reasons for its conduction.
  • Overall health condition of the patient.

The doctor’s surgical capabilities, as well as relevant experience, will also impact the aftermath of a surgery. Do not forget to discuss the potential complications before signing the bond.

How long does it take for recovery after a Radical Nephrectomy?

Full recovery means complete regaining of our strenuous activities. Experts say it may take up to six weeks if you maintain sound health otherwise.

What can I expect after the process?

Expect your release intent; it will cover up the detailed instructions about your restrictive activities at the time you are through your recovery period. There will be detailing about medicines to be consumed during this period too.

Is it a major surgery?

The process is extremely critical for acutely developed tumor cases. Overall, the process is a major one, but, you are released after medicinal treatment if your tumor does not spread too far.

Does our remaining organ grow after the nephrectomy process?

It becomes the duty of the treating authority to observe compensatory hypertrophy in cases of healthy patients who are following some unilateral nephrectomy. In live kidney donation cases, CT or USG scans demonstrate that our remaining organ bulges by 22-39% in more than 75 percent of cases treated.

How can we differentiate between a simple nephrectomy from a radical process?

In the former process, you get your kidney removed. In the latter, your surgeon will remove the kidney along with some nearby Fosses. These may include the entire neighboring adrenal glands and lymph nodes.

Preparing for the surgery

Your preparation for knocking surgery will commence no sooner than your doctor pronounces about undergoing a Radical nephrectomy.  You should ask your doctor about any or all of the following:

  • If h/she aims to remove cancer
  • Will the process be a simple cluster clearing?
  • About the type of surgery that h/she is going to conduct.
  • If the surgery aims to eradicate a malign tumor, what additional treatments you are supposed to get?

After you are agreed to take the surgery, the doctor sits with you and your party to prepare for the operation. You will get detailed instructions for your preparation well ahead of the process.

  • Fasting instruction – you won’t consume water or any fluid during the last 12 hours preceding your operation.
  • Preferably, such extinction should be effective from midnight of the previous night.
  • There will be medicines to reduce infection and allergic effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you were taking any medication or supplement.
  • He will suggest against taking any blood-thinner for now.
  • You must inform him/her about your allergy to any particular type of medicine especially anesthesia.
  • Leaving up fashionable ornaments back at home.                                                                                                                                                 

Surgery Process

As soon as you reach the hospital for the procedure, your medical team would ask you to take a rest for some time. Your process is conducted under general anesthesia; thus, you won’t be awake when the operation is on.

Your medical team will inject anesthesia through an Intra Venous procedure. Besides anesthesia, your medical team will give you an injection. Besides anesthetic material, it carries certain recommended medication from the operating surgeon; these medicines aim at preventing infection during the process. There will be a urinary catheter too; it helps your urine drain out.

The entire surgery procedure would entirely depend upon the way it is performed; the extent to which your organ would be removed comprises some different considerations.

During the Radical Nephrectomy procedure, your entire kidney is removed along with major fatty tissues around. Sometimes, your surgeon may also require removing a portion of the ureter. It is a tube connecting your kidney to the bladder.

If a diagnostic test shows your tumor is positioned near the adrenal gland or is involving it, a urological surgeon may decide to remove it too.

The surgery types include both open and laparoscopic forms. In its open form, surgeons make a singular incision. On the contrary, laparoscopic surgeries would require making multiple smaller incisions.

While conducting a Laparoscopic procedure, urology surgeons use an instrument called the laparoscope. It has a tiny camera at the end that helps him/her check the surgery accuracy. While h/she is ready to take the organ out, he instructs his/her team members to take a minute increase in its size.

Laparoscopic procedure is more popular these days for its minimally invasive nature. Senior specialists order for the open procedure if you have a large-sized tumor. Open procedure is also recommended if your surgeon needs to clear the entire lymph nodes.


Your release time after the procedure would completely depend on your overall health situation after the procedure. It inflicts your recovery time too. The catheter placed before surgery would remain with you for some time onwards.

As you leave the medical care unit, you will get instructions from your treating doctor entailing all the diet and activities notes during your recovery period. Your medical expert team would persuade you to start lighter chores as soon as you can. They will advise you to stay away from strenuous activities for some weeks or months till your health permits undertaking such arduous tasks.

However, the procedure won’t affect your life quality. You would resume your normal routine and activities as you complete the recovery schedule.


After you are declared recovered or fit, brilliant patient parties keep in touch with the doctor for immediate addressing of any intermittent issues. Checking up with your doctor for the following would be impressive:

Blood Pressure

A blood pressure increase may indicate inefficient kidney functioning; it might damage your kidney too.

The protein level in the Urine

If you gain protein-urea after some period, it would indicate kidney damage or poor functioning. Protein-aria indicates high protein urine levels.

Filtration of wastes

Your urinating organ filters waste before directing this to the bowels. You need to conduct a regular Glomerular filtration test to check the filtration rate of your kidney. It is a typical blood test; a reduced rate would indicate improper organ functioning.


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