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Kidney Removal (Nephrectomy) Postoperative Instructions


After anesthesia, begin with clear liquids. If no nausea, you may then eat and drink what you like. Depending on how you feel the following day, you may resume your normal diet. The appetite may be diminished the first several days at home. Drink plenty of water and avoid heavy meals. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit to avoid constipation.


Be sure to walk at least six times per day. This helps prevents blood clots in the legs, which can travel to the lung and become life-threatening. You may go up and down stairs. You may take walks outside. You may go up and down stairs. You may tire easily with minimal activity.

Avoid strenuous activity of lifting more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks.

Foley catheter

A plastic tube called a Foley catheter is typically left in place overnight to drain the bladder. The nurse will show you to use this. This is usually removed the morning after surgery. Once you have urinated or in the afternoon, an ultrasound is used to check how much urine remains in the bladder. This is called post void residual or PVR.

If you are unable to urinate or unable to urinate completely, the Foley catheter will be replaced. This is typically left in place for a few days to give the bladder time to recover. You will then return to the office in the morning for catheter removal and come back the same day in the afternoon to check residual urine.


Shower daily. Let the water to run over the incision then pat dry. Avoid submerging in water until incisions have healed completely, about two days. You may have staples in the incision. You do not need to place anything over the incision. You may place over-the-counter gauze and tape if there is oozing or spotting.


You may take two acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours while awake if needed for pain. You may use this regimen the first several days. You may also get a prescription for pain pills. You can use prescription pain pills in addition to acetaminophen every four hours. The prescription medication may contain acetaminophen. Do not exceed 3000 mg acetaminophen per day.

You may receive a prescription for a stool softener to avoid straining after surgery. Take plenty of fiber and water or over the counter stool softener to avoid constipation. It may take a few days to have your first bowel movement after surgery. You may use over the counter MiraLAX, milk of magnesia, docusate (Colace), senna (SennaGen, Senokot), Dulcolax (bisacodyl). You may use over-the-counter suppositories [such as Dulcolax (bisacodyl)] or enemas (such as Fleets).

Pathology report

You will be able to see the pathology report on the patient portal as soon as the pathologist has read the report.

Postoperative appointments

Skin staples are typically removed at a nurse visit 1 week after surgery. You will need a postoperative visit in approximately 7-14 days after your surgery to review the pathology report with your surgeon. Call the office to make these appointments if you do not already have them.

When to call the office or come to the ER

Fever over 101°F, difficulty breathing, chest pain, palpitations, nausea or vomiting, swelling or pain in one leg. Come to the Emergency room if the office is closed.

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