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Y. Mark Hong, MD

About Laparoscopic Kidney Removal Surgery

By markhongmd on November 12, 2013

About Laparoscopic Kidney Removal SurgeryIt can never be stated enough just how important it is to have healthy kidneys, especially given the role that they play in maintaining a person's overall health and well-being. Yet sometimes it's necessary to remove a kidney. These are instances that a urologist needs to take very seriously.

Advances in surgical techniques and technologies have resulted in laparoscopic kidney removal surgery. Since many people are unaware of what this entails, we'd like to go over it in basic terms right now.

What is laparoscopic kidney removal?

Let's first describe a traditional kidney removal surgery, also known as a nephrectomy. The traditional kidney removal surgery involves a scar approximately 18cm in length along the side of a patient's abdomen. Through this incision, the entire kidney or part of the kidney can be removed.

By contrast laparoscopic kidney removal requires three to four smaller incisions roughly 1cm in length. Through these incisions, a surgeon will use specially crafted instruments to assist in kidney removal.

Why is laparoscopic kidney removal performed?

Some reasons why kidney removals are performed include:

  • Severe damage or injury to the kidneys
  • Serious infection of the kidneys
  • Cancer/tumors
  • Kidney donation

The Ideal Candidates for Laparoscopic Kidney Removal

The best candidates for laparoscopic kidney removal are those who have suffered serious kidney damage and would benefit from having their diseased or defective kidney removed. Those who are healthy and wish to donate one of their working kidneys are also ideal candidates since a kidney from a live donor is often better for the recipient than a kidney from a cadaver.

Some people may not be ideal candidates for laparoscopic kidney removal and will require traditional kidney removal instead. A urology specialist will help determine which surgical method is most ideal.

The Laparoscopic Kidney Removal Procedure

The laparoscopic kidney removal surgery is performed under general anesthetic. The small incisions are made either in the front of the abdomen or the side of the abdomen. The most effective method will be determined during the consultation.

A small camera will be introduced through one of the incisions, with the other incisions used to operate small surgical instruments. Once the whole kidney or portion of the kidney is ready to be removed, one of the small incisions is enlarged to roughly 5cm to 8cm so that the kidney can be extracted.

Recovery from Laparoscopic Kidney Removal

One of the reasons that laparoscopic kidney removal is preferable to traditional nephrectomy is that the recovery time is much shorter.

In a traditional nephrectomy, patients will have a large scar and will need to stay in the hospital for 7 to 10 days to recover. Patients will often need to take a considerable time off work as well. With laparoscopic kidney removal, the hospital stay is much shorter, usually half the time of a traditional nephrectomy. Between two to three weeks off work is recommended.

Learn More About Your Options for Expert Medical Care

For more information about kidney removal surgery and the many other health and wellness treatments that could help you, be sure to contact our Phoenix and Scottsdale urology centers today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve all of your health care goals.

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