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Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

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Old 05-11-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Southampton, England
Posts: 1
nickpb HB User
Unhappy Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

It's funny, but you always think that the pain you are suffering is unique....until you come across forums like these, and read other people's experiences. My thoughts go out to you all, believe me.

I had to have my right kidney removed just over 3 weeks ago, because of a 7cm cyst on it, and a 'sinister' shadow on the scan. Unfortunately, they couldn't do it laparoscopically(?), so I had to have the big slice.

The day I left hospital, I felt pretty good, and didn't need any pain relief, but since being home, I have had a lot of pain, and the whole of the right side of my abdomen, around the scar, is numb. The doc said this is because they had to cut through the layers of muscle and nerves to reach the kidney.

I've always been reasonably fit, and usually recover from illnesses quite quickly, so I suppose I am frustrated that after 3 weeks, I still need fairly strong pain relief.

Is there anyone who has had this operation, and can tell me how long it is likely to be before things get better? It's so frustrating having things to do, and not being able to do them. Sitting round doing nothing is just not my cup of tea. Any information would be appreciated - Thank you!!

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Old 05-14-2006, 09:46 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 1
maggiemay357 HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Hi! I am very new (just signed on) to this bard because my brother just had his right kidney removed(mid April) due to a cyst that traveled through the vena cava artery to his heart. His tumor was malignant and now he is in terrible pain with swelling on the left side of his groin. He goes for more tests this week but he too is not able to get around yet . I can't give you a time frame but perhaps it will help if you know you are not alone after this terrible surgery. Be patient and kind to yourself...just getting to where you are now makes you a hero!

Old 05-14-2006, 03:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 609
friendly_one HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Hi Nick...I had a radical nephrectomy on April 7th. Mine was done Laparoscopically, so I completely healed in a very short time. However, I have had over 60+ surgeries on that kidney where they did have to cut into the kidney (big incision) and through the muscle layer and it hurt like hell!! Give it a good 8 weeks to recover, ok?? Try not to overdo things, either. That will only aggravate things. Take care and I hope things get better!!

Old 05-18-2006, 01:32 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hampton, NH
Posts: 26
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

I had an open nephrectomy when I donated my kidney to my son, 2 years ago May 11. I was home on Friday after surgery on Tuesday and out of work for 8 weeks. Open neph sometimes involves the removal of a rib. The first 2-3 weeks are the worst and then you're feeling pretty good, at least that was how it went for me, a 53 year old, overweight under exercised grandma.

Old 04-02-2007, 08:23 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: dallas, tx,usa
Posts: 1
lonecow HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

I had an open left partial 3 weeks ago also. My left side is still in pain, still numb and weird tingling all over left side but I am down to one pain pill per day. My Dr. still insists it is all normal due to all the cutting and nerves so I like you, will hang in there. Good Luck!

Old 04-03-2007, 08:31 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 92
onekidney HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)


I had my right kidney removed through open surgery in June, 2005. The major pain was gone in about a week, but you must be very careful with yourself for at least 8 or 9 weeks. You do not want to risk a hernia or other complications.

My surgery was for massive stones. Since then, I get some pain when I bend over or exercise too much. By exercise, I mean extra activity. The muscles and nerves are cut, so the lump in the side is permanent.

Do not let yourself become constipated. That makes the lump larger and the discomfort worse.

If I can be of any assistance..let me know.

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Old 04-04-2007, 09:03 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 18
Huskerboy HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

I had a radical nephrectomy (left side) about 10 months ago. Although they didn't suspect cancer at the time, that's what it turned out to be, so I too, bear the large scar under my bottom left rib...

After pathology at the Mayo Clinic determined the "blur" on the CT scan was indeed cancer, I went to the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, OK. They reviewed my records and ran further tests and did a complete follow-up. When talking with the pain specialist, I mentioned that it had been about 4 weeks since surgery and that I was still having quite a bit of pain. He indicated that I might have pain and discomfort for up to a year! When you cut through 4 layers of muscle, all the nerves, and remove an entire kidney, it takes a long time to heal. Now that it's been almost a year, I can agree!

Much like you, I've always been rather active and have healed quickly. However, this is the first major surgery I've ever had. The lower left side of my abdomen is still numb, but I don't require pain meds on a regular basis anymore. The only time I take something for pain is at night, depending on how active I've been.

Did you're physician give you the talk about over-the-counter pain relievers? If not, let me know and I'll fill you in what my docotors have told me is safe to take (especially since we've only got on kidney now)...

Give yourself some time to heal and don't rush things. It's good to walk, but I'd still limit what I carried for several weeks yet. As someone else stated, you don't want to add a hernia or tear that incision open!

Take good care!


Old 04-06-2007, 01:09 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 92
onekidney HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Did you're physician give you the talk about over-the-counter pain relievers?

What about over the counter pain relievers? I know I can't take ibupropen, but what else?

Last edited by onekidney; 04-06-2007 at 01:10 PM.

Old 06-01-2007, 03:18 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: tampa, fl, usa
Posts: 7
xander07 HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Nick I am having a part nephrectomy on july 10th. I'm am getting the big slice as well. I have the same fear about sitting around. I'm 32 and very active with lifting weights and running. I know this is going to "kill me" to sit around... Any advice you can give me about the procdure would be great. How long were you in the hospital, and stuff like that?

Old 06-01-2007, 09:21 PM   #10
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 10
cm80123 HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Hi, I had radical nephrectomy of right kidney 10 weeks ago. I am 54 year old female in good physical shape. I don't lift weights but go to the gym at least 5 days a week. Work on machines , treadmill and elipitcal. I am surprised to say I still feel a a lot of pain on my side. Doctor says this is normal due to amount
of muscle and nerve they cut through. My hospital stay was 5 nights. In general I had a good non- eventful recovery. I am sure everyone has a different recovery story.

Old 09-03-2007, 03:19 PM   #11
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pickerington, OH. USA
Posts: 5
mikifin HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

I have a tumor on my right kidney which is just over 6 cm and has worked it's way into the Vena Cava. (not sure of the spelling)
The doctor seemed much more worried about that then the kidney itself.
I just found out that I have to have a radical nephrectomy, The big slice and on my abdomen instead of my side. I am not sure if that is good or bad?
My doctor said they will have to have a vascular surgeon there to take care of the vena cava issue while he will remove kidney and adrenal glands.
I will be having the surgery with in the next 2 weeks. I am trying to find out what to expect.
Thanks for any help that you can give me

Last edited by mikifin; 09-03-2007 at 03:27 PM.

Old 09-04-2007, 06:38 AM   #12
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,178
duzford HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

WOW! I can offer no advice but I will keep you in my prayers. The Vena Cava is the main artery to the heart and carries the blood supply to the body. The vascular surgeon will be on hand and hopefully has to do nothing. He is there in case they accidentally nick the vena cava. He will sew up the vena cava quickly so as to preserve your blood supply. I can partially relate as my ureter wraps around my vena cava but they have decided not to fix it. Someday they will have to. Since you have a fairly large tumor they will have no choice with you.

You may want to start a seperate thread just for this conversation.

Last edited by duzford; 09-04-2007 at 07:04 AM.

Old 11-01-2007, 12:54 PM   #13
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: cleveland, ohio, cuyahoga
Posts: 1
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Wow, I am surprise to hear that so many has undergone some form of kidney surgery. I had a partial nephrectomy on the right side, October 12, 2007 due to a small cancerous tumor. I have a long ugly scar from my front right side to the upper right part of my back. I am currently experiencing some discomfort when I lay on the right side. I also find it difficult to wear clothing over the scaring area where I am experiencing some numbness and tingling. From time to time I feel the need to take some pain meds on the days when I am very active. I am scheduled to return to work November 23, I hope I am feeling better by then. We must stay positive and we will get through this.

Good Luck!

Old 11-01-2007, 02:30 PM   #14
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pickerington, OH. USA
Posts: 5
mikifin HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Good luck to you. My scar is just over 12" running from my sternum to about 2" below my belly button. It is still a little tender to the touch but for the most part I am pain free. It has taken awhile to get my energy back, but I am back to work and I feel no significant difference than from before the surgery.

Old 11-07-2007, 05:10 PM   #15
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: dublin
Posts: 2
leslie42 HB User
Re: Recovery after radical nephrectomy (Kidney removal)

Hi my name is Les. I had a lapo radical on 16th october 2007. i am at home recovering now but still feel discomfort. The pain is not extreme and i am improving day by day. i am drinking plenty of water and have never consumed so many pears and apples in the last 3 weeks. i will probably turn into a pear if i keep this pace going or at the very least pearshaped as i am also craving chocolate!! I was delighted to rid myself of the 7cm tumour. luckily i have been told that no follow up treatment required other than twice yearly ct scans.I was so lucky to have taken myself straight to accident and emergency when i noticed blood in my urine.I was diagnosed and operated on all within 2 weeks on the brilliant nhs.

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