Conditions + Treatments

Nephrectomy In-Depth

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How is kidney disease diagnosed?

In children, kidney disease is usually diagnosed by a blood test or x-ray, ultrasound or CT scan. The tests are often performed following a urinary tract infection.

How will my child's nephrectomy be performed?

There are three methods of performing the surgery, all requiring general anesthesia:

  • Traditional open surgery requires a large incision (8 to 12 inches long) to expose the kidney and requires a lengthy recovery (about six weeks).
  • Laparoscopic surgery uses three or four small incisions and minimally invasive operating techniques to remove the kidney. Guided by a tiny camera on the end of a laparoscope, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments through the incisions and detaches the kidney from its connecting blood vessels and ureter. The kidney is maneuvered into a bag, and one of the small incisions is enlarged to allow the surgeon to lift the kidney out. Thismethod reduces recovery time, but control and accuracy limit its use to simpler cases.
  • Boston Children's Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the world to perform robot-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy procedures. The enhanced visualization and control of a robotic system potentially offer improved efficiency and safety over standard laparoscopy, and make it suitable even for complex cases.

What happens after my child's nephrectomy?

Your child will likely need pain medications since the sites of incision will be sore. He will receive IV fluids and his blood chemistry will be carefully monitored to make sure the remaining kidney is doing its job.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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