What Is a Radical Nephrectomy Procedure?


Quick Answer

A radical nephrectomy involves complete removal of a damaged kidney, including part of the ureter and the fat deposits around the organ, according to Mayo Clinic. Because the kidney damage may also affect the adrenal gland, which is adjacent to the organ, radical nephrectomy may also involve removing the affected gland.

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Typically, radical nephrectomy is a treatment for kidney cancers, including renal cell carcinoma and Wilms' tumor, notes Mayo Clinic. It also treats kidney damage resulting from conditions such as severe scarring and injury. To perform a radical nephrectomy, a surgeon administers general anesthesia before inserting a urinary catheter to empty the bladder. He then cuts an incision in the patient's abdomen to access and remove the damaged kidney.

Caring for the remaining kidney after the procedure is essential to ensure normal body functioning, and involves routine physical exercise and eating a healthy diet, explains Mayo Clinic. Checking blood pressure, protein urine levels and glomerular filtration rate through routine kidney function checkup also form part of proper care. Good post-surgery care reduces the chances of developing complications such as high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

Another type of nephrectomy is partial nephrectomy, states Mayo Clinic. This procedure involves removing only a damaged portion of the kidney.

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