The kidney may need to be removed for a number of reasons.
The most common reason is due to Renal Cell Cancer but chronic infections, a non functioning kidney causing pain or hypertension or stone disease are other reasons. Medical advances have changed the way this procedure is carried out and now almost all nephrectomies can be performed laparoscopically. This minimizes the pain and length of time to recover from this procedure.
Rather than one large incision a number of very small incisions are made and the kidney is usually removed via a 5cm incision low in the abdomen or pelvis. The abdominal cavity is distended with carbon dioxide to allow a working space. The same 'open' operation is then performed.
The advantages are many and this is now the gold standard technique in nephrectomy surgery. Patients go home usually after 2-3 days and return to normal activities much quicker. In the hands of a skillful surgeon the results are the same or better than open surgery with the benefit of less pain and blood loss and a faster recovery.
In over 250 laparoscopic kidney cases Dr. Vass has performed there has been no major complications, no emergency conversions to open surgery or intra-operative blood transfusions.