You had surgery to remove part of one kidney or the entire kidney, the lymph nodes near it, and maybe your adrenal gland.
You may have an 8- to 12-inch surgical cut over your belly or along your side. If you had laparoscopic surgery, you may have three or four small cuts.
Recovering from kidney removal usually takes around 3 to 6 weeks. You may have some of these symptoms:
Plan to have someone drive you home from the hospital. Do not drive yourself home. You may also need help with everyday activities for the first 1 to 2 weeks. Set up your home so it is easier to use.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities within 4 to 6 weeks. Before then:
To manage your pain:
Press a pillow over your incision when you cough or sneeze to ease discomfort and protect your incision.
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering.
You will need to keep your incision area clean, dry, and protected. Change your dressings the way your doctor or nurse taught you.
Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub, or go swimming, until your doctor tells you it is OK.
Eat a normal diet. Drink 4 to 8 glasses of water or liquids a day, unless your doctor tells you not to.
If you have hard stools:
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Nephrectomy - discharge; Simple nephrectomy - discharge; Radical nephrectomy - discharge; Open nephrectomy - discharge; Laparoscopic nephrectomy - discharge; Partial nephrectomy - discharge
Kenny PA, Wotkowicz C, Libertino JA. Contemporary open surgery of the kidney. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 54.
Updated by: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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