Nephrectomy - NYSORA | NYSORA


Learning objectives

  • Definition of a nephrectomy
  • Management of a nephrectomy

Definition and mechanisms

  • A nephrectomy involves the removal of a kidney with or without part of the ureter and may be open, laparoscopic or robot-assisted
  • Often performed in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma but may also be performed for hydronephrosis, trauma, shrunken kidney, hypertension chronic infection
  • Nephrectomy is also performed to remove a healthy kidney from a donor (either living or deceased) for transplantation
  • In partial nephrectomy or kidney-sparing (nephron-sparing) surgery, only the diseased or injured portion of the kidney is removed
  • Radical (complete) nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney, part of the ureter, the renal fascia, the adrenal gland, and regional lymph nodes are removed
  • The open operation is carried out via a dorsal, anterior subcostal, flank, midline, or thoracoabdominal incision
  • The laparoscopic approach is associated with less pain and quicker recovery times and may be performed transperitoneal or retro-peritoneal



Nephrectomy, renal cell carcinoma, multimodal pain relief, atelectasis

Suggested reading

  • Pollard BJ, Kitchen, G. Handbook of Clinical Anaesthesia. Fourth Edition. CRC Press. 2018. 978-1-4987-6289-2.
  • Chapman, E., Pichel, A., 2016. Anaesthesia for nephrectomy. BJA Education 16, 98–101.

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