Laparoscopic Nephrectomy (Removal of the Kidney)
Laparosopic nephrectomy is a minimally invasive technique to remove a diseased or cancerous kidney. It is performed under general anesthesia. The typical length of the operation is 3-4 hours. The surgery is performed through 3 small (1cm) incisions made in the abdomen. A telescope and small instruments are inserted into the abdomen through these keyhole incisions, which allow the surgeon to completely free and dissect the kidney without having to place his hands into the abdomen. The kidney is then placed within a plastic sack and removed intact through an extension of one of the existing incision sites.
Laparoscopic Nephrectomy is a safe and effective surgery. When compared to conventional open surgery which requires a larger incision, laparoscopic nephrectomy has resulted in significantly less post-operative pain, a shorter hospital stay, earlier return to work and daily activities, a more favorable cosmetic result and outcomes identical to that of open surgery.
Potential Risks and Complications
Although this procedure has proven to be very safe, as in any surgical procedure there are risks and potential complications. The safety and complication rates are similar when compared to the open surgery. Potential risks include:
- Bleeding: Blood loss during this procedure is typically minor (less than 100 cc) and a blood transfusion is needed in less than 5% of patients
- Infection: All patients are treated with intravenous antibiotics, prior to starting surgery to decrease the chance of infection from occurring after surgery.
- Tissue / Organ Injury: Although uncommon, possible injury to surrounding tissue and organs including bowel, vascular structures, spleen, liver, pancreas and gallbladder could require further surgery. Injury could occur to nerves or muscles related to positioning.
- Hernia: Hernias at incision sites rarely occur since all keyhole incisions are closed carefully at the completion of your surgery.
- Conversion to Open Surgery: The surgical procedure may require conversion to the standard open operation if difficulty is encountered during the laparoscopic procedure. This could result in a larger standard open incision and possibly a longer recuperation period.