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What can you expect after a Laparoscopic kidney removal (nephrectomy)?

Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove a kidney through small incisions in the abdomen. This procedure is commonly used to treat kidney cancer, kidney stones, and other kidney-related conditions. In this article, we will discuss the laparoscopic nephrectomy procedure, its benefits, and potential risks.

Laparoscopic kidney removal? Procedure:

Before the procedure, the patient is given general anaesthesia to ensure they are asleep and pain-free during the surgery. Once the patient is asleep, the surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen to insert laparoscopic instruments and a camera to visualise the kidney. The surgeon will then cut the blood vessels and ureter that connect the kidney to the body and remove the kidney through one of the small incisions. The procedure usually takes between 2-4 hours to perform.

Recovery after a laparoscopic kidney removal?

While the surgery is minimally invasive, recovery after laparoscopic kidney removal requires proper care and management to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.

Post-Surgery Care

After the surgery, patients are typically observed in the hospital for 1-2 days. During this time they will receive pain medication, antibiotics, and intravenous fluids if required. The surgical team will also monitor the patient’s vital signs, urine output, and any signs of complications.

Patients are advised to rest for the first few days after discharge and gradually increase their activity level as directed by their healthcare provider. Patients are also advised to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and driving for at least two weeks after surgery.

Pain Management

Pain after laparoscopic kidney removal can vary from person to person. Patients will be prescribed pain medication to manage discomfort and will be advised to take them as directed. Patients can also apply heat therapy to the affected area to help manage pain and promote healing.

Diet and Nutrition

Patients will be advised to follow a specific diet plan after surgery to promote healing and prevent complications. The diet may include a low-sodium, high-protein, and low-fat diet. Patients are also advised to drink plenty of fluids to promote healing and prevent dehydration.

Follow-Up Care

After laparoscopic kidney removal, patients will have regular follow-up appointments with their healthcare provider to monitor their recovery and manage any complications. Patients may also be referred to a physical therapist to help improve their mobility and strength.

What are the benefits of a laparoscopic kidney removal?

Laparoscopic kidney removal is often used to treat kidney cancer, severe kidney damage, or to donate a kidney for transplantation. Compared to traditional open surgery, laparoscopic kidney removal offers several benefits.

Minimally Invasive Procedure

Laparoscopic kidney removal is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses small incisions to access the kidney. This approach results in less pain, less scarring, and a faster recovery time than traditional open surgery.

Reduced Pain and Scarring

Because laparoscopic kidney removal is minimally invasive, it results in less pain and scarring than traditional open surgery. The small incisions used in laparoscopic surgery are only a few millimetres in size, resulting in less trauma to the surrounding tissues and a faster healing process.

Faster Recovery Time

The recovery time after laparoscopic kidney removal is generally shorter than after open surgery. Patients can often return to their normal activities and work within two to four weeks after surgery, depending on their individual circumstances and the nature of their work.

Lower Risk of Complications

Laparoscopic kidney removal is associated with a lower risk of complications compared to traditional open surgery. The smaller incisions used in laparoscopic surgery result in less blood loss, reduced risk of infection, and a lower risk of damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

Donor Safety

Laparoscopic kidney removal is the preferred method of kidney donation for living donors. This is because the procedure offers a lower risk of complications, less pain, and a faster recovery time for the donor. Donors who undergo laparoscopic kidney removal can often return to their normal activities and work within two to four weeks after surgery.

What are the risks and side effects of a laparoscopic kidney removal?

As with any surgical procedure, laparoscopic nephrectomy carries some risks. While this procedure is generally safe and effective, there are some risks associated with the procedure that patients should be aware of before deciding to undergo it.


One of the main risks associated with laparoscopic nephrectomy is bleeding. While bleeding is rare, it can occur during the surgery or in the days following the procedure. If bleeding occurs, it may require additional surgery or blood transfusions.


Another potential risk associated with laparoscopic nephrectomy is infection. Infections can occur at the site of the incisions or within the abdomen. Symptoms of infection may include fever, chills, and increased pain or tenderness in the area. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection if it occurs.

Organ damage:

During the laparoscopic nephrectomy procedure, there is a risk of damage to surrounding organs, such as the liver, spleen, or pancreas. This risk is higher if the patient has had previous abdominal surgery or has a history of abdominal adhesions.

Deep Vein Thrombosis:

Patients who undergo laparoscopic nephrectomy may be at an increased risk of developing blood clots in the legs or lungs. Patients may be given blood thinners or asked to wear compression stockings during and after the surgery to minimise this risk.

Urinary problems:

After the procedure, some patients may experience urinary problems, such as difficulty urinating or urinary incontinence. However, these problems are usually temporary and resolve on their own within a few weeks.


After the procedure, the patient will spend a few days in the hospital to recover. Patients may experience some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication. Patients can usually resume normal activities within a few weeks after the procedure.


Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a safe and effective procedure for removing a kidney. The procedure offers many benefits over traditional open surgery, including less pain and scarring, faster recovery time, and lower risk of complications.

Author: Mr Neil A Haldar MBBS MD FRCS

Consultant Urological Surgeon

The Pelvic Specialists

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