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Nephrectomy Postoperative Instructions

Hospital stay

Patients typically stay overnight in the hospital for 1-2 days for monitoring, intravenous fluids and pain management.


After anesthesia, begin with clear liquids. You may take what you like to eat or drink. 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.


  • 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 take walks outside. You may go up and down stairs. You may tire easily with minimal activity.
  • You should avoid strenuous activity for 6 weeks. This includes activities such as golf, tennis, cutting the grass, stretching exercises, lifting weights and so forth. You should avoid carrying anything over fifteen pounds for this six week period.


You may take a shower as you normally do. You may allow the water to run over the incision then pat dry. Avoid submerging in water for two days. You may have staples in the incision. These will be removed postoperatively. You do not need to place anything over the incision but may place a gauze if there is oozing or spotting.


  • You can obtain good pain relief by taking two acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours while awake for the first several days. You will also get a prescription for pain pills. You can use these prescription pain pills in addition to acetaminophen every four hours. Do not exceed 4000 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 two tabs of over the counter Senekot or Senegen twice daily as needed for constipation.

Postoperative appointment

You will need a postoperative visit in approximately 7-10 days after your discharge. If surgical staples are placed in the incision, they are typically removed at that time. Call the office to make an appointment if you do not already have one.

Call the office

Or come to the emergency room for fever over 101°F, difficulty breathing, chest pain, palpitations, nausea or vomiting, leg swelling or pain.

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