What is recovery like after a nephrectomy?

Immediately after nephrectomy (surgical removal of a kidney), your healthcare team will carefully watch your blood pressure, electrolytes and fluid balance. These body functions are controlled in part by the kidneys. You will most likely have a urinary catheter (tube to drain urine) in your bladder for a short time during your recovery.

You may have discomfort and numbness (caused by severed nerves) near the incision area. Pain relievers are given after the surgical procedure and during the recovery period as needed. Although deep breathing and coughing may be painful because the incision is close to the diaphragm, breathing exercises are important to prevent pneumonia.

You will probably remain in the hospital for one to seven days, depending on the method of surgery used. You will be encouraged to return to light activities as soon as you feel up to it. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for six weeks following the procedure.

Your doctor will give you more detailed instructions about your postoperative activities, restrictions and diet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.