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What to expect during Recovery from partial laparoscopic nephrectomy-

Jen T
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2017

what should I expect during recovery from a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy? The Dr said I'd b in the hospital 3-4 days and probably feeling pretty normal in about 4 weeks. I'm 45 and not in great physical shape but not to bad either. I have a 10 year old and 17 year old at home but at that age they're pretty self sufficient. They can help each other.. Just wondering what to expect as far as pain, mobility, etc. 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3242
Joined: Jan 2010

Jan, The doctor who said that has never been nephed. The first week is a bit rough with everyday getting a little better with maybe a bad day in between.

 

 

Icemantoo

ImNotDeadYet's picture
ImNotDeadYet
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

They told me six weeks, and I figured at that point I was good to go. First day back at work I had to leave early and take a nap. You'll have good and bad days, and eventually the good will eclipse the bad. Just try not to expect to be at 100% too soon. Granted, mine was radical and not partial, so maybe you'll have a slightly better experience; I sure hope so. The pain from the surgery may take a little time to dissipate. Use the meds they give you for pain if they help. The more rest you get the first few weeks, the faster and stronger you'll recover. Good luck - you can do this!

 

BoondockSaint's picture
BoondockSaint
Posts: 242
Joined: Mar 2017

My wife, who is also your age had her partial back on March 8. She was in good shape physically. She was only in the hospital one night. She was in a good bit of pain for like 4 or 5 days. Off pain meds after about 7 - 10 days. She returned to work at about 4 weeks but was getting really worn out. At about 6 weeks she was pretty much back to normal and was cleared to start working out again but it was still a bit much. She is at about 16 weeks now and is still not back on a workout routine but day to day activities seem to be back to normal. She still has a pain here and there but even those are getting fewer and farther between.

a week or so ago she was feeling pretty rough......which we have kinda figured out has coincided with her time of the month. Also we figured out that by upping her water intake has helped out tremendousl. I / we believe she was getting slightly dehydrated and causing her to not feel well. Since doing this she has felt really well so......drink that water young lady. Haha

hope that sheds a little light on things and big hugs on a full and speedy recover.

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1966
Joined: Mar 2014

I had an open partial and was only in for 2 days. Third day came home. Even though it was open neph my recovery was pretty good. I was up and walking the night of the surgery and with medication the pain was very manageable. I was so afraid that I'd be in a lot of pain but my imagination was a lot worse than reality. And since people say robotic is easier, then you should have no problems at all. It took me a while to feel "normal" but it's important to walk as much as possible, as soon as possible. It was winter with snow and ice out so in the beginning I walked around my house for 5-6 minutes every hour. Then of course kept increasing it. Make sure you drink lots of water and use the breathing apparatus they'll give you to keep your lungs clear. All the best to you!

medic1971's picture
medic1971
Posts: 190
Joined: Sep 2015

 

Hey Jen T,

 

I had a partial to remove two tumors from my right kidney.  I spent two days in the hospital, four days in a hotel room, and then flew home. 

What to expect:

Within a few hours after surgery you will be getting out of bed and walking.  Walking is easy, but it's the getting in and out of bed that's the pain in the butt.  The worst pain for me was the gas they used to inflate my abdomen for surgery.  It's gas pain and it lasted several days.  Overall the pain was not that bad.  I was on pain meds around the clock for the first 4 or 5 days and then I only took the strong stuff at night to help me sleep. 

My worst day was post-op day 3.  I did good the first two days, but that 3rd day was the worst. I was just worn smooth out, but every day after that it got a little better.  I went back to work 6 weeks later.  I might have been able to go back sooner, but I had the sick leave so I took it.

Tips and tricks I learned:

1. Use a pillow to brace yourself when getting in and out of bed.

2. Take your pain meds before you start hurting.  Pain is like fire, don't let it get out of control

3. Have something to do while you recover.  I played X-Box and watched a lot of Netflix

4. Start exercising now, even if it's just walking.

When you get a chance check out this video.  I meant to post this to your other thread, but now is a good time.

This video walks you through the management of the small renal mass.  A video just like this one gave me a lotof comfort and answered a lot of my question.  The urologist giving this presentation works at MD Anderson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=493RFA_tA1I

Good luck and hang in there. 

Medic

 

stub1969's picture
stub1969
Posts: 816
Joined: Jul 2016

Welcome!  I, too, had a partial on my right kidney.  You've received a lot of great advice and should have a good handle on what to expect.  I can't add a lot of new information other then to try to help put your fears at ease.  My surgery was early on a Friday morning and I was discharged the next day in the early afternoon.  Try to have things organized for your return home.  I spent the first three nights sleeping in a recliner.  Have a soft pillow for both sleeping and holding close to your stomach in the event you have a sneeze or cough.  As medic says--stay ahead of the pain with the meds.  One of the worst parts of the surgery was the aftermath when my body was trying to get rid of the gas they fill you up with.  The best remedy medicine for that was to walk.  Don't overdo it--listen to your body.   It won't take too long for you to get back to your normal routine.  

As you move forward with your appointments and surgery, ask us questions that come up.  This is a great group of people that are more than willing to help. 

Good luck and God bless. 

Stub

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1322
Joined: Oct 2013

Hi and welcome Jen~ Glad you found this site!

I always tell folks to expect that pain from the GAS they use to pump up your abdomen. It isn't like intestinal gas. It gets trapped, mostly around shoulder and yes, it is painful but not debilitating in my view. I would get up and walk, walk and move my arms around in circles repeatedly to get it out and gone. It does take several days to leave our bodies. 

Also, I highly recommend using a lumbar wrap around your abdomen to assist and support your healing muscles for getting UP and around. I even wore it to bed. Also, the pain meds do not touch the SWELLING or edema that comes from our insides/incisions trying to heal. SO, I would put dry ice packs (less messy) inside this lumbar wrap, but over my underwear so its not right on skin. AS a result, I didn't need pain meds that long or as often. 

Yes, you can be out in a day unless your doctor feels you need more time for some reason. They will get you up to first sit on your bed, 1st day, then stand, then walk if able w/o being dizzy or nauseated. Some folks get nauseated from all the meds. Remember you are still under the General Anesthesia medications plus they start you on IV pain meds first day, then oral pain meds. To me, side effects were more challenging, but that's me. 

We're here for you all the way. ASK as many questions as you need to , Jen.

Sending you healing vibes with dose of calmness..

Jan

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1322
Joined: Oct 2013

OH, and I was told not to exercise, except walking, for 30 days. Your insides are healing! You don't want hernias and such by lifting or doing too much. 
For me, once that gas pain passed, and I felt more steady (after 1st week) I felt good. I did ask for my iron to be checked for anemia. Surgeon didnt' think I needed it, but tested me, and yes, I was anemic. Got OTC SlowFE as it doesn't cause constipation. That increased my energy to. 

Plan for help. Let your family know you are having major surgery and you need to conserved your energy for HEALING!! Even if you feel better, (like I did) you are still healing. 

Everyone is different. I already had a laproscopic surgery prior to my nephrectomy, plus 2 other abdominal surgeries so this one was not that bad in my experience. 

Everyone's tolerance is different. 

Jan

Jen T
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2017

we have just now found out that the insurance company definitely will not pay for surgery at the hospital where my surgery was scheduled. Now they are telling me that the hospital my insurance covers has no openings until late August. i know these things grow slowly but this means it will be over 2 months from the discovery of the mass. It's driving me crazy knowing it's in there. 

elle2017's picture
elle2017
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2017

I understand your frustrations, I was there too. They found the tumor in Feb 2017 and needed an MRI which wasn't until end of March 2017, appointment with the specialists April 2017 and May 2017, and surgery was finally scheduled for end of June 2017. It drove me crazy because it felt like every ache was magnified because of this tumor. 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1966
Joined: Mar 2014

They found mine in the beginning of January and my surgery was March 17. So I too waited because my February date had to be postponed. I had a very bad cold with a cough and they didn't want me to undergo anasthesia until lungs were clear. I know the wait is nerve wrecking but I doubt it'll make any difference as far as the mass is concerned.

JerzyGrrl's picture
JerzyGrrl
Posts: 760
Joined: Jun 2016

I had my probable / possible diagnosis in May / June of last year, with surgery scheduled for July (I was on standby by cancellations... Except there weren't any). Then got rescheduled for September. Then (Finally!) for December when the surgery was actually done. After that, it took me over a month to get the pathology report. My first follow-up CT scan took 5 or 6 weeks to actually pull off. Even without the waits, it would've been a wonder I didn't just end up going "PFFFT!" but somehow I didn't. Go figure. 

You say the kidney mass is driving you crazy? To heck with that. The next time it pulls up beside you and offers you a lift, tell it no thanks - you'd rather walk. 

Doing stuff at home that'll make life easier for when you get out of the hospital is a great way to pass the time (Save the marathon playing of solitaire or watching reruns of "Third Rock from the Sun" or "The Big Bang Theory" for after the surgery, in between naps and walking). 

You got this. 

elle2017's picture
elle2017
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2017

Hi Jen, 

I am almost 3 weeks post op (surgery was 06-23-17), I had a robotic partial nephrectomy on my right kidney for a small tumor that they found during a CT scan for an unrelated issue. My surgery was Friday morning around 8am and I remember waking up in my hospital room around 1:30pm. Surgery took about 3 hours and then I think I spent an hour in recovery before they transfered me to my room. So after surgery, I woke up with a catheter and a JP drain. My urologist told me about the JP drain, but I wasn't really sure what to expect. Turns out, it's just a small tube with a soft "bulb" at the end that collects any drainage from the kidney. Removing it did not hurt at all, getting it removed just felt very weird.. similar to the sensation you get when they remove the catheter. 

I didn't walk until Saturday afternoon when they removed the catheter. They just let me keep those compression boots on and let me sleep most of Friday away. I had an allergic reaction to something because I woke up covered in hives so the Benadryl they gave me knocked me out pretty good. My friend who is a PA kind of forced me to walk because I didn't feel like I was ready for it. But once I walked, everything felt like getting in and out of bed got a lot easier and I didn't have to wear those boots. They advanced my diet from clear liquid (Saturday breakfast and lunch) to no restrictions by dinner time. They would not release me until I went to the bathroom for #1 and #2. 

I got discharged by Sunday afternoon and went home, ate dinner and took it easy. My company doesn't give a lot of PTO (personal time off) so I was only able to take 6 days off from work. I didn't know how much time we were supposed to rest, but I didn't have a choice so by 07-03-17 I had to work, luckily I was able to work from home. However I was back in the office full time by 07-05-17. I am tired, but I'm lucky that I have a desk job, so that helps a little bit but by the end of the day I am just exhausted. If you can, take it easy and take time off. 

I ended up having a total of five incisions, three that are about 1/2-inch long, one that is 3/4-inch long, and one that's about 2.5-inches long. My stomach still feels very full or distended and when I bend to tie my shoe laces or pick something up, it feels like I have a lump in the upper part of my abdomen. The left side does not have it. 

The incisions are healing, and the steri-strips have already come off but I cover it with gauze when I am at work because my clothes tend to rub against it. Each day it gets a little easier. 

My urologist did not perform a biopsy prior to the surgery because of location and size (1.9cm). Well, my path results came back and it turns out to be clear cell renal cell carcinoma. I believe the report said stage pT1a (tumor 4cm or less in greatest dimension, limited to kidney) and grade 2 (nuclei slightly irregular, nucleoli evident). Not sure what all that means, my follow up with the urologist isn't for another 2 weeks. 

Message/email me if you have any questions and good luck with your surgery!

- Elle

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

I had the same surgery back in 2012.  Speaking for myself, I didn't have much pain to speak of but felt weak as a newborn kitten.  Holy cow.  The need for rest is an understatement.  Be patient with yourself and listen to your body.  You will need to be up and about several times a day, short walks.  Make sure you use the device they give you for deep breathing exercises, it'll help avoid pneumonia.  The combination of sedation, pain meds, pain, and laying around makes one tend to breathe more shallow and that combination is not good for your lungs.....coming from a retired respiratory therapist. :-)

I went back to work after 3 weeks but wish I could have waited another week or so.  I went back part-time light duty though, because I couldn't make it thru the day without a nap.  And as Jan says, get a lumbar wrap.  Helped me SO much!

Best wishes,

Donna~     P.S.  August will be here before you know it, and in the meantime you can prepare for being out of commission for a few weeks.  Freeze some meals, clean stuff that you won't be able to, have plenty of movies or books or whatever form of entertainment you prefer, etc.

Jen T
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2017

thanks everyone for the encouragement. I'm trying to do things to keep my mind off of the impending surgery. I'm doing a lot of work around my house to prepare for my mom and sister to come help after the surgery and  spending a lot of time with my kids and husband. My husband is Mr Positive, which is blessing, so that helps. 

Mighty Frog's picture
Mighty Frog
Posts: 143
Joined: Jul 2017

Hi! Everyone! 

I had my laproscopic partial kidney nephprectomy surgery (4 keyholes), on 20/7/2017.  Stayed 4 days in the hospital. First night, sleep throughout the night. Gain my full conscious next day morning. Well the pain was not really what i expected (Really not that pain). Only when i trying to stand and walk, my both shoulders alrealy pain (As mentions by everyone here) due to the gas. I barely can walk 1 meter. But it get better everyday, I able to walk a few meters on the third day. 

I was discharged from hosiptal on the fourth day. My first challenge at home was the staircase. Well, out of my expectation, i climbed the staircase with ease. i found the most challenging is getting in and out of the bed. I learned fews tricks too after a few mistakes and pains. My first mistake is when i try sleep flat, it stratched my surgical wounds. So u need to maintain a curve or bend position when on the bed. So what i did i put a bolster or pillow on behind my knee. (on the one leg only where same location with your surgical area) Wow! it really work for me. 

And i also happen to have a recliner sofa at home, it was really good for napping. Reduce the challenging of getting into bed. 

Oh! ya... more things on the shoulders pain... during bathtime.... put on two hot towels on both shoulders.... it helps temporary to relieve the pains. 

All the Best to you...

 

 

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