Radical Nephrectomy is a surgical operation in which a kidney is removed completely. This operation is mostly performed for patients who are suffering from kidney cancer. Radical Nephrectomy is the alternative for specifical patients whose cancer is not located only in a part of the kidney and those who have later stages of renal cell carcinoma. Radical Nephrectomy used to be the only operation of kidney removal as a treatment for kidney cancer. However, over the years, partial Nephrectomy became a popular alternative for early stages of renal cell carcinoma.
Radical Nephrectomy can involve the removal of the surrounding tissues as well.
How It Is Performed
There are several ways of performing radical Nephrectomy:
• Robotic Surgery – in this method, surgeons do not operate manually; rather, they use a specialized robot for the Surgery. This results in a more aseptic setting and a shorter recovery period.
• Laparoscopic Nephrectomy –In laparoscopic Nephrectomy, a medical instrument called laparoscope is used in order to make several small incisions. A laparoscope is a tool which involves a camera and light. With the use of a laparoscope, laparoscopic Nephrectomy has a shorter recovery time as well.
• Open Nephrectomy – this method is a standard way of removing the kidney. Surgeons make a big incision to perform the surgery.
During the radical nephrectomy surgery, either only the kidney can be removed or the patient's kidney can be removed with surrounding tissues. The scope of radical nephrectomy procedure depends mostly on the stage of kidney cancer.
Recovery time after the radical Nephrectomy can last around 6 weeks for an open nephrectomy while it takes about 2-3 weeks for a laparoscopic nephrectomy and robotic Nephrectomy. After the radical Nephrectomy, it is recommended to stay active while avoiding heavy physical activities (walking seems perfect). Additionally, they shall drink a lot of water and not forget about their appointments at the doctor's office.
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in August, 2019.