While rare, possible complications following a kidney removal include breathing trouble, allergic reactions to certain medications, heart attack, stroke and blood loss, reports Healthline. It is also possible for patients to develop an infection at the site of the incision or experience a pulmonary embolism, in which blood clots from the legs reach the lungs.
Doctors perform kidney removal to treat kidney diseases, such as cancer, or obtain a healthy kidney from a donor, explains Healthline. Preparation for kidney removal involves determining a patient's blood type to prepare for the need for transfusion during surgery. Patients need to avoid eating foods and drinking beverages for a specific period prior to the surgery.
Nephrectomy, a process in which a doctor removes part of a kidney or an entire kidney by creating a single, long incision, involves risks such as injury to nearby organs or tissues, hernia (the protrusion of organs outside the surgical incision), and problems with the other kidney following surgery, according to Healthline. Individuals with kidney disease are at a higher risk of complications with the remaining kidney compared to healthy kidney donors.
After kidney removal, patients generally need up to seven days in the hospital, and they recover within three to six weeks, notes Healthline. Doctors monitor the proper functioning of the other kidney while a patient recovers, and they perform follow-up treatments if necessary.