Nephrectomy

Surgical kidney removal

The procedure is performed to treat kidney cancer as well as other kidney diseases and injuries

About having a nephrectomy

A nephrectomy is a surgical operation to remove a kidney. There are two types of nephrectomy: partial and total.

  • A partial nephrectomy means only part of the kidney is removed. It's a specific procedure and usually done if the benign cyst or tumour is less than 4cm in diameter. The aim is to remove the cyst or tumour while keeping as much of the kidney as possible, so that it is still able to filter blood.
  • A total nephrectomy removes the affected kidney entirely, along with the adrenal gland and surrounding tissue.

Both procedures can be carried out using open or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgical techniques.

Need to know

  • What happens during nephrectomy surgery icon plus

    Both a partial and total nephrectomy can be carried out as open surgery (by cutting around the abdomen) or as a laparoscopy (by making smaller, keyhole-size cuts) under general anaesthetic. 
  • How to prepare for nephrectomy surgery  icon plus

    Your consultant will explain how to prepare for your surgery. Because both types of nephrectomy (open surgery and laparoscopy) will be done under general anaesthetic, you won't be able to eat six hours prior to surgery. You will be able to drink clear, still water up to three hours before. Like all procedures, there may be some risks involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any question you might have.
  • After nephrectomy surgery icon plus

    You may have to stay in hospital for some time after your surgery. This is so we can make sure that your operated or remaining kidney is functioning adequately. Your consultant will explain when you can return to your normal routine.
Robotic-assisted surgery

Robotic nephrectomy

Our innovative robotic surgery system offers a more precise way of removing cancerous kidneys.


The robot lets our surgeons operate from a workstation, rather than by standing directly over you. It makes for a more precise and delicate procedure. It also offers other potential benefits, including an excellent chance of kidney preservation (where indicated); a shorter operation and hospital stay; and less blood loss.

Our kidney surgery specialists

From straightforward renal procedures to complex kidney surgery with the latest da vinci robot technology, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our locations specialising in surgery of the kidneys

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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