How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before surgery, you'll talk with your surgeon about what options are available for you. Questions you might ask include:

  • Will I need a partial or complete nephrectomy?
  • Am I a candidate for a minimally invasive (laparoscopic) procedure?
  • What are the chances that I'll need a complete nephrectomy even if a partial nephrectomy is planned?
  • If the surgery is for treating cancer, what other related procedures or treatments might I need?

Planning your hospital stay

You may need to stay in the hospital from one to five days, depending on the type of procedure. Ask your surgeon and health care team about your probable recovery time.

Preparing for the surgery

You'll receive instructions about what to do the day before and the day of your surgery. Make note of any questions you might have, such as:

  • When do I need to begin fasting?
  • Can I take my prescription medications?
  • If so, how soon before the surgery can I take a dose?
  • What nonprescription medications should I avoid?
  • When do I need to arrive at the hospital?

Planning for a donor nephrectomy

If you're planning to donate a kidney for a transplant, you'll have certain tests and exams done to make sure you're a suitable candidate.

Criteria for being an ideal kidney donor include:

  • Age 18 years or older
  • Compatible blood type with kidney transplant recipient
  • General good health
  • Two well-functioning kidneys
  • No history of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, certain cancers or major risk factors for heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
  • Stable mental health
May 16, 2015