The most common reason to perform a nephrectomy is for control and treatment of cancer. Other possible indications for a nephrectomy include benign diseases that lead to kidney dysfunction. These diseases include advanced kidney stones, chronic infections, and some benign tumors.
There are several different variations on how a nephrectomy is performed determined primarily by the type of disease that is being treated.
By the time you are discharged from the hospital, you should be independent in activity and with good pain control with the help of pain medication. Regardless of the type of nephrectomy that is performed, it does take the body several weeks to heal following a major surgery such as a nephrectomy. It is therefore common to have discomfort in the region of your incision for several weeks. Incisions gain strength over time and reach significant strength at six weeks following surgery. It is very common to have numbness in the skin surrounding and adjacent to any large incision, especially incisions on the flank. Occasionally, muscles within the region are weak and may show signs of relaxation, thus producing a small bulge near the incision.
Easy fatigue is also a common finding and can range from several weeks to several months following any major surgery depending on the patient’s age and overall health and endurance level.
It is not uncommon to occasionally have blood in the urine following partial nephrectomy for several weeks. Additionally, regardless of the type of nephrectomy performed, constipation can be a common problem especially considering the use of narcotic pain medication following surgery. It will be important for you to continue to monitor this closely and use over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners as indicated.