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The Side Effects of Kidney Removal

by
author image Julia Bodeeb
Julia Bodeeb started online writing in 2007. She also worked on staff in medical publishing for more than a decade as a reporter, managing editor and in book acquisitions. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008. Bodeeb has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Monmouth University and postgraduate credits in psychology and law.
The Side Effects of Kidney Removal
The body can function with only one kidney after kidney removal. Photo Credit SomkiatFakmee/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

A kidney removal surgery is called a nephrectomy. The surgery is done either through a large incision in the front or side of the stomach area or via a laparoscopic method, which involves 3 to 4 smaller incisions of about 1-inch in size, notes MedlinePlus. This surgery is typically performed due to kidney cancer or a kidney damaged by a disease, notes MayoClinic.com. Also, a kidney is sometimes removed so it can be donated.

Hernia

A hernia can occur at the area of the incision used for the kidney removal surgery, reports MedlinePlus. This side effect can occur quickly as the incisions start to heal, or it can show up at a later date. A hernia can require an additional surgery for treatment.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can occur after a kidney is removed, reports MayoClinic.com. This condition will require ongoing monitoring by a doctor and may also require treatment with a prescription medication. Patients should talk to their doctors before kidney removal surgery concerning the increased risk for high blood pressure, as well as possible treatments options if hypertension does occur.

Pain and Bruising

Bruising and pain can occur near the incision site of the kidney removal, notes MedlinePlus. The pain typically lasts only several days or up to one week. If severe pain continues, those affected should seek evaluation from their doctors. Pain medications can be prescribed for severe pain.

Slight Decrease in Kidney Function

The overall kidney function is somewhat decreased when only one kidney is left after a nephrectomy, reports MayoClinic.com. However, the kidney that remains will typically be strong enough to allow for a normal healthy life with the ability to do typical daily activities. Patients should discuss limitation in activities that may result from the surgery with their doctors.

Kidney Failure

Sometimes, however, the remaining kidney will fail after surgery or it will not work normally for some time, reports MedlinePlus. These risks cannot be predicted. Patients should discuss all possible risks with a doctor prior to kidney removal surgery.

Injury to Nearby Organs

Injury to other organs near the kidneys can occur during kidney removal surgery, notes MedlinePlus. This is not a common side effect. However, if an injury does occur to another organ it can be serious and will require immediate treatment.

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