Nephrectomy is surgery to remove the kidney. It is the most common treatment for kidney cancer. Laparoscopic and robotic surgeries have become more commonplace, but have not necessarily demonstrated improved outcomes compared with the traditional open nephrectomy.


The following are different types of nephrectomy procedures:

  • Radical nephrectomy. The whole kidney is removed along with the adrenal gland, tissue around the kidney, and, sometimes, lymph nodes in the area.
  • Simple nephrectomy. Only the kidney is removed.
  • Partial nephrectomy. Only the part of the kidney that contains the tumor is removed.

The remaining kidney is generally able to perform the work of both kidneys.

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