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 only a partial nephrectomy (taking out part of the kidney) is
needed. When a laparoscopic nephrectomy is done there will be about 3 – 5 small incisions.
Sometimes a laparoscopic hand- assist approach is used. This can be done through a few small
incisions and one larger incision.
To prepare for surgery you will need to empty stool from your bowel. A few days before your
bowel prep, go to your local drugstore. Buy 1 bottle of magnesium citrate (10 oz). Store it in
the refrigerator until you need to drink it. It is easier to drink if it is cold.
The Day before Surgery
ξ Eat a light breakfast and lunch, avoid greasy foods and red meat.
ξ Drink only clear liquids after 12 noon up to midnight (no limit on amount).
o Juice without pulp (apple, cranberry, grape)
o Hard candy
o Clear Jell-O (no fruit, etc. in it)
o Sparkling water or soda
o Weak coffee or tea, no creamer
o Gatorade or other sport-type drink
o Boost Breeze®/Resource®
After lunch, do not eat solid food, or drink juice with pulp, dairy products or alcohol.
_____ At 2:00 pm drink magnesium citrate 10 oz. (1 bottle). Drink 1 liter of a sport-type drink
the electrolytes before midnight (Gatorade®). After this, you may drink as much clear liquid as
you wish until midnight.
Shower before bed with antibacterial soap.
Do Not Eat or Drink after Midnight.
The day of surgery shower with the antibacterial soap before you leave for the hospital.
ξ It is normal for you to have some pain in the area for 2-4 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 2-4 days.
ξ Expect to get back to your normal routine in 10-12 days.
ξ Do not lift more than 20 pounds for 4 weeks.
ξ Nothing strenuous until okayed by your doctor.
ξ Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid per day (any kind of fluid is fine, except no alcohol)
ξ You may shower. Do not soak your incisions in a hot tub, bath tub, or swim 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 or soiled.
Resume sexual activity when you feel ready.
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 of breath or chest pain, call 911
ξ Increasing redness, warmth, or swelling of an incision
ξ Pus-like drainage from the incision or drain site
ξ Temperature over 100.5 θ F for two readings taken 4 hours apart
ξ Decrease in urine output
ξ Bloody urine
UW Health Urology 608-263-4757
UW Health at The American Center Urology 608-440-6464
UW Health One South Park Urology 608-287-2900
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 urology doctor is _________________
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 © 7/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6534