A nephrectomy is the removal of a kidney.
This may be done to remove a kidney tumor
or a non-working kidney. In some cases a
partial nephrectomy (removal of part of the
kidney) may be done. The surgery can be
done through an open incision (open
nephrectomy) or through several small
incisions (laparoscopic nephrectomy).
The Day Before Surgery
ξ Eat a light breakfast and lunch, avoid
greasy foods and red meat.
ξ Drink only clear liquids after lunch up to
midnight (no limit on amount):
o Juice without
o Hard Candy
o Clear Jell-O®
o Sparkling water or
o Weak coffee or tea,
o Gatorade® or other
o Boost Breeze® or
ξ At 2:00 pm drink 10 oz. of Magnesium
Citrate. You may drink as much clear
liquid as you wish until midnight.
Please drink 1 liter of a sport-type drink
with electrolytes (Gatorade®) before
midnight. Shower before bed with
antibacterial soap as instructed.
ξ It is normal for you to have some pain in
the surgical area for 2 to 4 weeks. Pain
pills will be ordered for you. Follow the
directions for using these pills.
ξ You will be walking soon after your
surgery. This is very important to your
recovery. The pain pills will make it
easier for you to move around.
ξ You will be in the hospital 3-5 days.
ξ Do not lift more than 15 – 20 pounds for
ξ Nothing strenuous until approved by
ξ Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid per day
(any kind of fluid is OK; not alcohol)
ξ You may shower. Do not soak your
incisions in a hot tub or bath tub until
they are healed, at least 2 weeks. You
may wear Band-Aids® if you need to.
Wear Band-Aids® if your incisions are
in a skin fold, your clothes rub on them,
or they are draining. Change them at
least daily and more often if they get wet
ξ Resume sexual activity when you feel
ξ Do not drive for 2 weeks.
ξ The length of time you will need to be
off work depends on your recovery and
the type of work you do. Check with
your surgeon before going back to work.
Your first follow-up visit will be made for
you before you leave the hospital.
When to Call the Doctor
ξ Shortness or breath or chest pain, call
ξ Incision becomes red, tender, or swollen
ξ Pus-like drainage from the incision or
ξ Temperature over 100.5 θ F for two
consecutive readings taken 4 hours apart
ξ Decrease in urine output
ξ Bloody urine
UW Health Urology
UW Health at The American Center
UW Health One South Park Urology
After Hours, Nights, Weekends, and
Holidays, the clinic number is answered by
the paging operator. Ask for the Urology
Doctor on call. Leave your name and phone
number with the area code. The doctor will
call you back.
Toll Free: 1-844-607-4800
Your medical record number
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7338
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright 10/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#4415