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What Is A Radical Nephrectomy ?

A radical nephrectomy is a procedure to remove cancer in and around one of your kidneys. The surgeon removes the kidney, ureter (the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder), and surrounding connective tissue, lymph nodes, and adrenal gland.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Nephrectomy Procedures ?

  • Partial Nephrectomy or Hemi-Nephrectomy - In this procedure, a small part of one kidney is removed.
  • Simple Nephrectomy - In this procedure all of one kidney is removed.
  • Radical Nephrectomy - This procedure involves surgical removal of one kidney along with the neighbouring adrenal gland and lymph nodes on the same side.
  • Bilateral Nephrectomy - This procedure entails surgical removal of both the kidneys.
  • Unilateral Nephrectomy - In this procedure only one kidney is removed.

How Do I Prepare For Radical Nephrectomy ?

It is extremely crucial for your surgeon to assess your kidney function before Radical Nephrectomy. A thorough physical examination, ECG, chest x-ray, complete blood profile, complete kidney profile, pulmonary function tests, blood gas analysis, blood typing and cross matching is done in case transfusion is required during Radical Nephrectomy surgery.

Specialized tests like intravenous pyelography, Cystoscopy / Ureteroscopy, retrograde pyelography, cystourethrography, CT scan, ultrasonography, MRI, renal angiography and renal venography will be performed for complete anatomic assessment. You will be hospitalized at least one day before the surgery. Inform your surgeon about your other health conditions and medications (including all the prescription, non-prescription medications, nutritional supplements i.e.

vitamins, minerals and herbal products). Refrain from taking aspirin or Ibuprofen at least 2 weeks before Radical Nephrectomy. Stop smoking a few weeks before Radical Nephrectomy to prevent healing problems during recovery period. Do not eat or drink any thing for at least 10 - 12 hours before the Radical Nephrectomy surgery.

What Happens After The Procedure ?

You may stay in the hospital for about 4 to 7 days. A catheter (tube) remains in your bladder for about a week to allow urine to drain and relieve the pressure. You may have a tube in your chest for 1 to 4 days if part of your incision is in the chest. During the first 2 weeks after the operation, you will be encouraged to do light activity, such as walking. Avoid all heavy activity for the first 6 weeks, including lifting. After that time, you may gradually do heavier work according to your health care provider's instructions.

Ask your health care provider how to care for yourself during your recovery. Ask when you should come back for a checkup.


The outcome of Radical Nephrectomy depends on the size and type of the cancer. The survival rate for stage I Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) following Radical Nephrectomy is 93%. This is for the tumour that is confined to the kidney and has not spread to the outside tissues.

What Are The Benefits Of This Procedure ?

After Radical Nephrectomy, the kidney on the opposite side compensates for the loss of one kidney and undergoes hypertrophy urine production is about 75 - 80% close to normal. You can lead a normal life with one kidney and have your kidney tumour removed by Radical Nephrectomy. With Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy, there is shorter hospital stay, less pain and quicker recovery

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