Nephrectomy Surgery: Procedure Type, Recovery, Vital Considerations, Etc

Nephrectomy surgical procedure

Are you observing the signs such as dental disease, loss of appetite, blood in urine, diarrhea, weight loss, and frequency of urination? Then is there a likelihood that your pet has some issues related to the kidney or ureter? In this article, we will elaborate on invasive nephrectomy surgery. You will also learn the procedure's effectiveness, recovery, considerations, and prevention. So, let's begin!

What Is Nephrectomy Surgery? 

Nephrectomy is a surgical practice to remove the kidney and the linked ureter. This procedure is ideal for treating the kidney and ureter condition permanently. However, it is not a common disease among pets. Due to this, nephrectomy in dogs occurs, including cancer, trauma to the kidney or ureter, persistent infection, and ureteral abnormalities. 

Nephrectomy: Procedure Type

Open Nephrectomy

Open nephrectomy is the good old-fashioned way of doing things. The veterinary surgeon makes a significant incision to get to the kidney, and it's all hands-on from there.

  • Pro: It's tried and true. It's been around for a while, and vets know it like the back of their hand.
  • Con: Recovery might take a bit longer, and there could be more discomfort for your pet.

Laparoscopic Nephrectomy Surgery

Welcome to the modern age! Laparoscopic nephrectomy is a minimally invasive kidney removal surgery. Small incisions, tiny instruments, and a camera guide the way.

  • Pro: Quicker recovery and less pain for your pet. Sounds great, doesn't it?
  • Con: It might not be suitable for all cases, especially if there's a need for something like Ureter resection surgery.

Robotic-Assisted Nephrectomy

Now, this is where things get futuristic! Robotic-assisted nephrectomy is like laparoscopic surgery, but a robot assists the surgeon. It's as cool as it sounds.

  • Pro: Super precise, which might mean even less discomfort for your pet.
  • Con: Not all veterinary hospitals offer this option, which could be pricier.

Types of Nephrectomy Surgery: Depending On Overall Health Of Your Kidney

There are also two further types depending on the overall health of your kidney,

  • Total Nephrectomy Surgery: This involves removing the entire kidney. It's usually done when things are terrible, like a severe infection or cancer.
  • Partial Nephrectomy Surgery: This is a bit milder, where only a part of the kidney is removed. It helps preserve some kidney function and is often used when the damage isn't widespread.

Both procedures may involve Ureter resection surgery, where part of the ureter (the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder) may also need to be removed.

Surgical Procedure

Before the surgical procedure starts, ensure some essential steps. First, monitor the condition of the kidney with the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). So, if the cancer is detected in the condition, complete staging is crucial to know where is cancer spread in the whole body. Further, it is necessary to correct the abnormalities before starting the procedure.

This procedure will be performed according to the condition evaluated if the acute trauma is detected. More than that, general anesthesia is necessary for this procedure as it is invasive. The anesthesia is safe for this surgical procedure because care is necessary when choosing anesthetic drugs that do not affect the kidneys.

At first, the dog is placed on its back to make an incision on the abdomen under the sternum. In addition, it is important to visualize the kidney to explore the abnormalities. Next, the kidney is removed from the parenchyma, renal artery, and identified vein. Further, the vein and renal artery are tied and then cut. 

Next, the ureter linked with the kidney is tied and then cut. Afterward, the kidney and ureter are removed. Now it is crucial to check the signs of bleeding. Lastly, the patient is closed, and the recovery phase begins.

Effectiveness of The Procedure

The effectiveness of the nephrectomy is amazing because it will not let the kidney and ureter conditions reverse or reoccur. Thus, the effects of nephrectomy are irreversible and permanent. Other treatments are also used to prevent to eradicate the disease. For instance, surgeons might recommend partial nephrectomy or ureter resection in the bladder. The partial nephrectomy will spare the kidney functions, so the kidney is not under strain.

Also, the renal functions smoothly without any strain on the animals. Nonetheless, the partial nephrectomy will increase the risk of bleeding after the surgical procedure, and there are chances to remove the entire kidney. In addition, in some cases, the trauma to the ureter is indicated with ureteroneocystostomy. Therefore, this procedure does not provide the best outcome for the patient as nephrectomy does. 

What to Expect After Nephrectomy Surgery?

Once the kidney removal surgery, or nephrectomy, is over, what comes next? The first few days after surgery, your pet might seem a bit out of sorts. That's normal! They've just been through quite an ordeal, after all.

Partial Nephrectomy Surgery usually has a quicker recovery time compared to Total Kidney Nephrectomy. Either way, expect your furry friend to need some TLC and rest.

Post-Operative Care

Ah, the healing phase! This is where you, as a pet owner, can really shine.

  1. Follow the Vet's Orders: Whether it's medication, a special diet, or restrictions on activity, follow the instructions from the nephrectomy veterinary expert. They know what's best!
  2. Keep an Eye Out: Watch for signs of discomfort, swelling, or anything else out of the ordinary. When in doubt, call the vet!
  3. Love and Comfort: Pets need their humans, especially when they're healing. Extra cuddles, gentle words, and a calm environment can work wonders.

Nephrectomy: Vital Considerations

Risks of Nephrectomy

No one likes to think about complications, but they can happen. Common complications might include infection, bleeding, or issues with the remaining kidney function. Ureter resection surgery might have its own set of concerns.

Prompt attention can nip most problems in the bud:

  • Infection: The surgical site might get infected, but antibiotics are usually on hand to deal with that.
  • Bleeding: It can happen, but veterinary surgeons know how to minimize this risk.
  • Other complications: Sometimes, things like Ureter resection surgery might add to the complexity, but again, your vet's got it under control.

Knowledge is power, so talk to your vet about these risks and what's being done to minimize them.

Alternatives to Nephrectomy Surgery

Not every kidney issue needs to result in kidney removal surgery. Hooray for that! Alternatives might include:

  • Medication: Sometimes, drugs can treat the problem without the need for surgery.
  • Dietary Changes: Special diets might help your pet's kidney function.
  • Regular Monitoring: In less severe cases, the vet might monitor things.

Your vet will explore these alternatives before jumping straight to nephrectomy.

Choosing A Surgeon

Picking the right surgeon for nephrectomy veterinary procedures is very important. It should be a perfect fit! Here's what to look for:

  • Experience: Look for someone who's been around the block a few times. Experience matters!
  • Credentials: Make sure they've got the proper certifications and training.
  • Bedside Manner: You want a vet who'll not only care for your pet but also ease your concerns.

Prevention from The Disease

The prevention of nephrectomy is problematic because it persists due to cancer and trauma. Often, the best option to prevent kidney cancer is healthily maintaining them. For instance, the kidney should function well, and there are some steps that you need to take to ensure the healthy state of your pet.

  • The pet should be drinking an ample amount of water. So, a hydrated pet will have fewer kidney disease chances.
  • A balanced diet is necessary to prevent kidney diseases. However, a special diet related to urinary is not essential.
  • Other than that, the pets facing persistent kidney diseases will eventually have an infection that leads to a nephrectomy. Therefore, some additional steps are crucial to be taken. Check them out!
  • The special diet is related to a kidney stone.
  • Management in a medical way.
  • Monitor the pet to check the infections such as straining to urination, blood in urine, and any accident.

Nephrectomy Surgery Cost

Taking care of our furry friends sure can hit the wallet hard sometimes! Typically, the nephrectomy surgery cost can range from $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery and where you live.

Also, learn about partial thyroidectomy surgery to give your pets a healthy life.