A nephrectomy procedure, or the surgical removal of a kidney, may be either complete or partial, explains the National Kidney Foundation. A doctor can perform either procedure through open surgery or laparascopy, notes Mayo Clinic.
A complete nephrectomy involves the removal of a severely diseased organ or a healthy kidney intended for transplant. A partial nephrectomy removes only the diseased tissue of the kidney, with healthy tissue left in place, according to Mayo Clinic.
An open surgery procedure occurs through a single, large incision up to 12 inches long on the side of the patient. In contrast, laparascopy involves a series of several smaller incisions in the abdomen, reports Healthline.