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Postby Buckman » Mon Jun 14, 2004 6:25 pm

Hi All,

I've just been told by my consultant that I now need a left nephrectomy
after two pyeloplasty's and two balloon dilatations have failed to alleviate my kidney problem. Although the surgeon has given me plenty of info, I was wondering if any of you can share with me with your experiences of having a kidney removed, and the recovery from the op!


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Postby Pam » Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:51 am

Hi Jim!
I had both my kidneys removed prior to my transplant because they were causing uncontrollable high blood pressure and were no good anyway. When they removed mine, they took them out the front-an incision down the front of my abdomen. :roll: I don't know why they did it this way, but they were removed about thirty years ago, so most likely they do it differently now!
I imagine they would do the "key-hole" procedure-much like they remove kidneys from living donors to reduce scarring and hospital stay. You might want to talk with your doctor and ask if this is the standard...I am sorry that I cannot give you any more information than this. Please keep us informed as to how you are doing!
Best Wishes!
32 yr cadaver transplant recipient, now on peritoneal dialysis with the help of Audrey, my Homechoice machine... as of 4/3/09
Romans 8:28
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Location: Springfield, Illinois, USA

Hello Jim - nephrectomy

Postby Elaine » Sat Jun 19, 2004 7:31 pm

Hello saw your post. My daughter is planned to hav both her kidneys removed in the next few wks time via laprascopic - keyhole surgery which is sooo less invasive and much quicker recovery. Amazing what surgeons can do these days. Length of stay in hospital is 'usually' a couple of days 2-3 approx depending how op goes.

best wishes 2 u Elaine UK :roll: :wink:
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Postby Cheryl in CT » Sat Jun 19, 2004 9:32 pm

Hi, Jim-

Here's hoping that getting rid of that problem kidney does the trick for you, once and for all! I do hope they'll be able to perform your surgery laparoscopically, as that does seem the least traumatic, with a much shorter recovery period - often as short as one month. A number of people who post here have had these "keyhole" procedures, and all seem to be doing just fine afterward. If you do have an option, I'd say that would be the way to go.

If, for whatever reason, laparoscopy isn't an option for you, the traditional "open incision" method isn't exactly fun, but it is bearable.

Here's what info my own hospital provided about it:

If your nephrectomy is to be performed in the "traditional" manner, it will involve an incision in your flank (a cut in your side). The procedure will be performed on an angled operating table. You will lie on your side with your body bent sharply at the waist. This position puts some stretch on the side on which surgery will be performed, and it makes the kidney more accessible to the surgical team. An angled incision will be made through the skin and muscle of your side, either along the lower border of your ribs, or near your 11th or 12th rib. This incision typically extends from your spine, around your side, to the front of your abdomen. If necessary, a portion of one or two ribs will be removed to expose your kidney better. Any neighboring organs will be moved aside gently. The kidney's blood vessels and ureter will be tied off and cut, and the kidney will be lifted out of your body. The lower layers of the incision will be closed with sutures, and the upper layer of skin will be closed with either sutures or surgical staples. In some cases, a temporary drainage tube will be inserted to drain fluids from the wound area. Following surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will be monitored for several hours until you are stable enough to return to your hospital room. After about 24 to 48 hours, the drainage tube will be removed, but you probably will remain in the hospital for a total of five to seven days.

Now, I've never had a kidney removed myself (I just have 2 that don't work - plus a rather new-to-me, previously owned "spare") but my husband, Mark, who donated his kidney to me, went thru the "open incision" surgery in order to donate. Mark is a rather large guy, and it took him several months before he felt fully up to par again post-surgery. During that time, he always said that the incision (which for him was almost 13" long) was less of a problem than the odd feeling inside - an odd, "something's missing" sensation. He would say it felt as if his "guts" were "swishing around in there" and he found that feeling rather disconcerting.

What the transplant docs told us was that yes, indeed, your "innards" DO move around after surgery, tho not as much (or as violently) as you might think they are. Things inside shift around a bit, sort of settling into having more space. It's not a drastic thing (i.e. they don't just slide over & take up residence in a new spot) but they do shift somewhat, as can be evidenced by their position if you have an abdomenal scan both before & something like a year after the surgery.

Nineteen months later, Mark still gets an occasional "twinge" or "pull" in his side, but it's a quick, momentary thing, and he says it really doesn't bother him. It's undoubtedly NOT from the "missing" kidney, but rather from the incision itself and perhaps a bit of nerve damage from the cutting. Otherwise, he feels no ongoing effects from the surgery, and a recent physical exam found his overall health to be excellent. Still, had he been able to have the kidney removed laparoscopically, I know his recovery would have been much simpler.

Jim, I haven't written any of this to frighten you - just to give you a bit of info about the "other" procedure, in case it's your only option. Either way, please know that the whole thing IS do-able, and you WILL recover - AND be more than glad that the nasty, offending kidney is out of there. I wish you the very best in all of it, and please do let us know how things are going for you. We will be thinking of you.

Cheryl in CT
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