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6 weeks post op (open partial nephrectomy) and still not feeling normal!

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2014


I was told by my urologist that by the 6th week after surgery I should be feeling pretty close to normal. Well I'm 6 weeks, 2 days after surgery and the pain I feel at the kidney site is still quite uncomfortable!

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3317
Joined: Jan 2010



After 6 weeks you should be back to normal activity, albeit a little slower at first. Is it normal to still have pain at the incision site? My answer is yes, but the pain is manageble. You just had major surgery. You are still going to have some soreness. Gradually the pain will go away.




nsb748's picture
Posts: 90
Joined: Feb 2014


What sort of pain are you feeling?  I am just under 6 months out and still get some aches every once in a while. 

I know that I started feeling exponentially better when I began excercising again.  Obviously, you will want to start slow, and not do anything that your doctor reccomends against, but it will help to get everything stretched out and get the blood flowing to the area that was opened.  

  Another source of pain specific to the open surgery is the fact that they occasionally will take all or part of a rib to get to the kidney.  In my case, they took most of my 11th rib.  This is primarily where I still get some aches from (on the "stump")

Listen to your body, and ask your doctor questions if you are curious.  If you are still not sure, get a second opinion. 

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

I doubt your urologist has had this surgery. :)

I don't think anybody feels normal 6 weeks after abdominal surgery. I've had 3 of them, and it took 3 months or so before I really started to feel normal again. At 6 weeks I went back to work, but I was worried about it. I had pretty serious low energy and still had discomfort for several more weeks. The outside heals up faster than the inside. Your body takes several months to fully heal on the inside. I think the loss of a kidney can have a big impact on your system.

Mine was a radical nephrectomy, though. But even at the age of 25 when I had an appendectomy, it tooks 2-3 months to feel really normal, as I remember. Similarly for a hernia repair I had 5 years ago.

It could take awhile. Sorry! Hope you continue to get better at a faster pace as you would like it to be. Be patient.


Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2014

Thanks everyone for your input!

First it seems I have issues posting to this site. I seem to only be able to get the 1st paragraph to post, the rest gets deleted. Argh! So forgive me if I don't punctuate/create proper paragraphs ....  I posted more details... Mainly telling you that the pain I feel is like muscle pain around the kidney site. I guess that is expected as I did have major surgery. It seems like the muscle has been pulled So twisting or lying on that side is painful but not intolerable.  I am going to try and do different exercising. So far I've just been walking because any time I try a small jog, that area objects strongly.

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

I had my surgery on July 10.  While I feel great, and I have been walking 6 miles per day, I tried jogging a day or two ago, and it still did not feel "right."  My surgeon told me to "listen to my body" and I am heeding that advice.

I can tell that my body is healing well because sneezing is no longer painful.  Jumping up and down feels OK.  But the constant pounding of jogging does not feel right yet.  I expect to be back at it in 2 more weeks.

We are all different and have different pain points.  While I can't say I have any pain, when I jog, it does not feel comfortable yet.  Give it time.

Aleeka's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2014

You had an open nephrectomy - that's some serious slicing through MANY muscles. Similarly when women have a c-section for childbirth - it takes a good 8 weeks for muscles to start feeling like they've knit back together. Slicing through and across muscle is no small feat. My surgery was laproscopic but the tumor was so large it was like having a c-section - they cut at 6" incision at my midline to 'birth' it out. 

Everyone is different in how long they take to heal and feel normal. I didn't feel 'normal' in the brain for months after surgery - my energy itself was low for a good 6 months. Physically, I didn't feel normal after that big of an incision for about 3ish months - at that point I could fully bend over and touch my toes again and do situps. I'm a year out and parts of my abdomen (on the surface) are still numb to the touch. Nerves grow the slowest and take the longest to recover.

Be patient and do what you can. The last thing you want to do is push it and end up with a hernia from stressing unknitted muscle.

sblairc's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Feb 2014

Hi Susan, 

My husband is a fitness instructor and he was still unable to resume light workouts at 6 weeks, after a full neprectomy and was mostly walking. Riding the recumbent bike put too much strain on his insides, as did lifting. He knew enough about his body to do what others here have also suggested and he listened to his body and when things didn't feel right he stopped doing them. It was tremendously frustrating to him, but I'm happy to report that he eventually was able to after another month or so resume light work outs. Don't forget that your kidney inside is healing too. 

Wishing you the best. 

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2014

I don't know how to thank everyone for their positive feedback!!! Thanks so much.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2014

<p>It makes me feel much better to know others have similar problems. Not that I want anyone to have problems, but at least I know I'm not alone.</p>

<p>It's really hard to be patient with my healing but I am walking (although not 6 miles a day!) and I've even started doing some beginner yoga to work on stretching. Thanks to all the responses, I know to be more patient as things will get better.</p>

<p>Thanks again!</p>


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