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

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

Preparing for the surgery

Expect to receive instructions from staff regarding what to do the day before and the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all your questions, 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 drugs 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 thorough exams to determine if you're a suitable candidate. Criteria for donating include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Compatible blood type with kidney transplant recipient
  • Generally 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 23, 2012