According to the American Cancer Society, there was an estimated 57,760 new cases of kidney cancer (35,430 men and 22,330 women) in 2009. A very common procedure for the treatment of kidney cancer is a nephrectomy – a surgical procedure to remove the entire kidney or a part of the kidney. Thousands of patients with kidney cancer or other kidney diseases, as well as kidney transplant donors, undergo a nephrectomy each year. If you or someone close to you is scheduled to have nephrectomy surgery, here are some points to keep in mind.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, nephrectomy surgery is done two main ways: laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure, and open nephrectom, where the surgeon makes an abdominal incision and removes the diseased kidney. Be sure to ask your doctor questions about the procedure that he/she recommends and the risk factors involved for each procedure.
Some of the benefits of laparoscopic surgery include shorter recovery times and decreased risk of infection after surgery.
Your hospital stay could range from one day to an entire week, and you should avoid strenuous activity for six weeks. The National Kidney Foundation reports that there are no special dietary needs after a nephrectomy.
Have you had a nephrectomy? We’d love for you to share your story with other readers. Email your experiences to denenebrox [at] gmail [dot] com.