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WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Antibiotics may be given through your IV to prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
During your surgery:
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.
- A drain may be placed during surgery to remove extra fluid from your wound. This helps prevent infection. The drain is taken out when the wound stops draining fluid.
- You may need to walk around the same day of surgery , or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.
- You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
- Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Antibiotics help prevent infection caused by bacteria.
- Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevents vomiting.
- Bowel movement softeners make it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to prevent constipation.
- 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.
CARE AGREEMENT:You 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.
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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.