Nephrectomy is generally a safe procedure. But as with any surgery, nephrectomy carries a potential risk of complications, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to nearby organs
  • Rarely, other serious problems

Long-term complications from a nephrectomy relate to potential problems of living with less than two complete, fully functioning kidneys. Although overall kidney function decreases after a nephrectomy, the remaining kidney tissue usually works well enough for a healthy life.

Problems that may occur with long-term reduced kidney function include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Chronic kidney disease

Potential risks and complications depend on the type of surgery, reasons for surgery, patient's overall health and many other issues, including surgical expertise and experience. For example, at Mayo Clinic these procedures are performed by urologists with advanced training and extensive experience to minimize the chances of problems related to surgery and assure the best possible outcomes.

For a better understanding of potential risks it's important that you discuss these issues with your urologic surgeon.