A nephrectomy surgery is a procedure that removes a portion or all of a patient's kidney, as stated by Mayo Clinic. In a laparoscopic nephrectomy, the surgeon completes the operation by making a set of small incisions in the abdominal region. An open nephrectomy uses one large incision in the abdominal area.
Patients who suffer from kidney cancer or have damaged kidney tissue may need to undergo a partial nephrectomy that only removes the diseased tissue, as stated by the National Kidney Foundation. Severely disease kidneys require a radical nephrectomy that removes the entire kidney and surrounding fatty tissue and glands. When a radical nephrectomy is performed for kidney donation, the procedure is referred to as a donor nephrectomy.