Results

Questions that you may want to discuss with your urologic surgeon or other members of your health care team after your nephrectomy include:

  • How did the surgery go overall?
  • What did you learn from pathology about the tissue that was removed?
  • How much of the kidney was preserved?
  • How often will I need additional testing to monitor my kidney function and the disease that prompted the surgery?

Monitoring kidney function

Most people can function well with only one kidney or with one whole kidney and part of the second. You'll likely have checkups to monitor the following factors related to kidney function.

  • Blood pressure. You'll need careful monitoring of your blood pressure because decreased kidney function can increase blood pressure — and high blood pressure can, in turn, damage your kidney.
  • Protein urine levels. High protein urine levels (proteinuria) may indicate kidney damage and poor kidney function.
  • Waste filtration. Glomerular filtration rate is a measure of how efficiently your kidney filters waste. The test is usually performed with a sample of blood to measure the creatinine level. A reduced filtration rate indicates decreased kidney function.

Taking care of your remaining kidney

After a nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy, you may have overall normal kidney function. To preserve normal kidney function, your doctor may recommend that you eat a healthy diet, engage in daily physical activity and attend regular checkups to monitor your kidney health.

If you develop chronic kidney disease (reduced kidney function) after complete or partial nephrectomy, your doctor may recommend additional lifestyle changes, including possible dietary changes and being careful about prescription and over-the-counter medications.