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nephrectomy - the usual?

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi, I have a rare type of sarcoma which started from a tumour in my kidney and I am due to have a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy next Monday. The surgeon says it should be fairly straightforward as far as these things go. I don't post much on this board because I don't have RCC but I was hoping some of you might be able to tell me what you know about the typical experience of pain and recovery time after a laparoscopic procedure. I know some of you have had and are having particularly difficult recoveries. My oncologist and surgeon are fairly blase; they say it is easier than the chemo cycles I have just completed, which, while not painful, were deeply miserable (mostly due to fatigue, weakness and some painful side effects) and took about a month before I felt at all well. 

I am in the UK, not the US, where the official health service average statistics are 11 days to return to normal activity, 14 days to return to work after a laparoscopic nephrectomy. I also need to start a course of intensive physical therapy to deal with some neurological side effects, travel on public transport to get to my place of treatment for daily radiotherapy, and, as soon as possible, fly to the United States. None of this sounds very realistic to me.

Would be grateful to anyone who had time to share their thoughts.

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 1947
Joined: Jan 2010


Age and general heath are very important in your recovery. Normal activiy  in 11 days and back to work in 14 days is not realistic. More like 6 and 8 weeks. The procedure and recovery are anything, but fun, but they beat the alternative.  The operation is fairly routine and complications sometimes occur as you have read here recently. These are  my thoughts.



Djinnie's picture
Posts: 947
Joined: Apr 2013

I wanted to wish you all the best with your op on Monday! I had a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy last March, I can't compare it to chemo as I have no experience of that. I know for the first week it was pretty painful, that's why it is so important to take your meds on time. You may find using a recliner initially helpful, as it is difficult getting up out of a regular chair or sofa. I slept on the recliner for the first couple of days, for comfort sake. You will probably be shuffling around for the first few days, but keep moving as much as you can, taking regular moderate walks when you are up to it.

You have quite a to do list going on there! You mention 14 days for a lap operation, which would be a guide line, everyone heals differently of course! you may or may not be ready to return to work in that time frame. I know from my experience it was weeks before I was any where near normal, but it does take a little longer for a partial. Also when it comes to flying, I was advised to wait at least four weeks because of the risk of blood clots. I am sure your doctor can give you the best advice there though!

I am from the UK, I live in Brittany now, whereabouts are you in the UK?



Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2013

Dear Djinnie and Iceman, thank you for your advice and good wishes. I saw your post last month Djinnie on a good scan and am cock-a-hoop for you :) I had my surgery yesterday at the Royal Marsden in London. The surgeon warned me that my chemo might have caused fibrosis of the kidney which would raise the risk of "conversion" from a laparoscopic procedure to an open one so I was pretty happy to wake up with four tiny incisions. Shoulder pain from the gas has been the worst thing but manageable so far with Tramadol.

Home to Hertfordshire tomorrow, and hopefully on the flight to the United States in two weeks or so. The surgeon says it should be OK to go so soon as long as I have anti-clotting injections and feel up to it.

Thanks to everyone who has posted here and best wishes to everyone in recovery. 



Djinnie's picture
Posts: 947
Joined: Apr 2013

Hey Mamash, 

Thanks for your good wishes, I appreciate it!....I am so glad everything went well with the op! Up and around in three days and a long haul flight in two weeks, you are one tough lady! Will your insurance cover the trip without any disclaimers?

Don't push yourself too hard! Take care of yourself and give my regards to Herts!


Djinnie x

Posts: 66
Joined: Aug 2013

11 days for normal activity and 14 days for return to work wasn't close in my case.  I didn't start sleeping in my bed until the ten day mark, when my staples were removed.  At the two week mark I still got exhausted by one pass through the main floor of the house, which is modest in size.  

I'm an industrial salesperson.  I made my first sales calls, locally, at the 4 week mark and made my first out of town trip at the six week mark.  At 8 weeks I felt I was pretty much at full strength.  Each case is different.  I'm 62.  A younger person most likely would have been back at it sooner than I was.

I wish you well.


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