A nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a kidney, the organ that filters waste from the blood and produces urine. An intravenous (IV) line is inserted into one of your veins to deliver fluids and medications.
When nephrectomy is done through an incision in your side, the procedure takes place on an angled operating table. The patient is asked to lie on his/her side with body bent sharply at the waist. The surgeon makes an angled incision through the skin and muscle of your side, either along the lower border of your ribs, or near your 11th or 12th rib. This incision typically extends from your spine, around your side, to the front of your abdomen.
Sometimes, a portion of one or two ribs will be removed to expose your kidney. The kidney's blood vessels and ureter are tied off and cut, and the kidney is lifted out of your body. The internal layers of the incision are closed with sutures; the upper layer of skin is closed with sutures or surgical staples.
In a few cases, a temporary drainage tube is inserted to drain fluids from the wound. After about 24 to 48 hours, the drainage tube is removed.
It is similar to a simple nephrectomy, except that the incision often is made in the front of the abdomen, and it may even extend into the lower portion of the chest. In a radical nephrectomy, the neighbouring lymph nodes and adrenal gland are removed together with the kidney.
A laparoscope and small surgical instruments are inserted into your abdomen through four small incisions. The expert uses a tiny camera on the laparoscope to guide the surgical instruments to detach your kidney from connecting blood vessels and your ureter. One of the small incisions is enlarged to allow the kidney to be lifted out of your body. At the end of the procedure, the abdominal incisions are closed with sutures or surgical tape.
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