What you should know
A nephrectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your kidney. The kidneys remove waste from the blood. The waste is flushed from your body through your urine.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- You may get an infection or bleed more than expected. You may have trouble breathing during surgery. Nerves, blood vessels, muscles, or organs may be damaged. If only part of your kidney is removed, the kidney that remains may not function as well as it should.
- Without treatment, your signs and symptoms will get worse. Your kidney may not be able to completely remove waste from your body. Too much waste left in your body can cause dizziness, seizures, or confusion. Toxic waste buildup in your body can be life-threatening.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood or urine tests before surgery. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI of your kidneys. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
- You may need to drink clear liquids, such as apple juice or broth, the day before surgery. You may also need to drink a liquid that clears out your bowel. Ask your caregiver for more information about cleaning out your bowel.
The night before your surgery:
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
The day of your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
An incision will be made over your kidney. Your surgeon will cut the tissues on and around your kidney. Part or all of your kidney will be removed. Your adrenal gland may also be removed. The adrenal gland sits on top of your kidney and produces hormones. The incision will be closed with stitches and covered with a bandage.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- Your symptoms get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.