During kidney removal surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's side, explains Healthline. He then severs the blood vessels that serve the kidneys as well as the connections to the bladder. The surgeon may also need to remove a rib to complete the procedure.
The surgeon can also remove only part of the kidney, according to Healthline. The surgery is basically the same, but the incision can be smaller. He can also remove the kidney or part of the kidney laparoscopically. In this type of surgery, he makes much smaller incisions in the abdomen and inserts a tiny camera into the patient's body, guided by images seen on a monitor. He uses miniaturized tools to sever the kidney from its blood vessels and ducts. This type of surgery is easier on the patient in that the recovery time is shorter and it involves less pain.
Other types of kidney surgery remove kidney stones while leaving the kidney intact, notes Providence Health & Services. In this surgery, called percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's back and inserts a nethroscope, which also has a tiny camera. He removes the stones through a tube in a percutaneous nephrolithotomy, or, in a nephrolithotripsy, he breaks the stones up and then removes the fragments.