​​What is a Nephrectomy?

Nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a kidney. The procedure is done to treat kidney cancer as well as other kidney diseases and injuries. Nephrectomy is also done to remove a healthy kidney from a donor (either living or deceased) for transplantation.

There are two types of nephrectomy for a diseased kidney: partial and radical. In partial nephrectomy, only the diseased or injured portion of the kidney is removed. Radical nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney, along with a section of the tube leading to the bladder (ureter), the gland that sits atop the kidney (adrenal gland), and the fatty tissue surrounding the kidney.

When both kidneys are removed at the same time, the procedure is called bilateral nephrectomy. The procedure used to remove a healthy kidney from a donor for the purpose of transplantation is called donor nephrectomy.

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