This technique is more commonly used today in kidney donor procedures. It involves making several incisions of a couple of inches long in the abdomen. These incisions, called “ports,” allow the insertion of the laparoscope (camera) and other surgical instruments into the abdomen.
The camera and instruments used in a laparoscopic nephrectomy are used to cut the kidney away from surrounding tissue after clamping off the blood vessels and ureter. The kidney is then removed through an incision below the belly button.
This procedure opens the abdomen and involves making an incision up to 10 inches long along the bottom of the lower rib to the midriff.
A different option for the open nephrectomy starts with an incision further on the back along the side to the front. However, a portion of the rib may have to be removed.
Depending on the technique used, the surgeon will cut through muscle to gain access to the kidney. Once the kidney is exposed, the arteries and ureter are clamped off.
In either type of nephrectomy, the kidney is removed, flushed, and placed on ice to minimize damage to the organ until it is placed in the recipient’s body.