What is Laparoscopic Nephrectomy?
The kidneys are the principal organs that form the urinary system and have one of the most important functions in your body, to filtrate the blood from organic waste and to produce urine. A laparoscopic nephrectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the kidney by using small, minimally invasive instruments, that includes a camera and some small instruments inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. A nephrectomy can be performed either as a radical (removing entirely the kidney) or as partial (removing only the diseased tissue) procedure.
Why Will You Need a Laparoscopic Nephrectomy?
Most of the time, laparoscopic nephrectomy is performed to remove a tumor from the kidney, whether if it’s cancerous or benign. Also, this procedure can be performed to solve some other kidney diseases that requires eliminating a portion of the kidneys or the entire organ.
What Does a Laparoscopic Nephrectomy Involve?
Before the Procedure
Before surgery, your doctor will explain to you the reasons and the steps of your procedure as well as the consequences of removing your kidney. It’s important to stop drinking or eating anything, at least 8 hours before the procedure.
During the Procedure
Laparoscopic nephrectomy involves the following steps:
- Right before surgery, you will receive general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.
- Your doctor will make 3-5 small incisions in your abdomen and will introduce the laparoscopy instruments and a tiny camera.
- In the case of a radical nephrectomy, your doctor will remove the whole kidney, the fatty tissues surrounding it and a portion of the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder (ureter). If a partial nephrectomy is performed instead, your surgeon will remove the cancerous tumor or diseased tissue and leaves in as much healthy kidney tissue as possible.
- Finally, your skin incisions will be closed back again. The entire procedure usually takes about 2-3 hours and you will be closely monitored all the time.
The laparoscopic technique has notable benefits over open surgery when preforming a nephrectomy, including a less invasive procedure, shorter recovery time and less pain. However, not all nephrectomy cases are eligible for laparoscopic techniques. Depending on the size of your kidney tumor and your overall health status, your doctor might suggest one technique or another.
After the Procedure
Usually, staying in the hospital at least one night after the procedure is required. At home, you might feel some discomfort in your back, which is normal. Coming back to your job and regular activities will be possible after at least 2 weeks.
Laparoscopic Nephrectomy Possible Risks and Complications
Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a safe procedure, like all surgeries there may be complications. Any risks will be discussed with you by your doctor.