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Post Op?

Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

I’m having an open patial on my right kidney on the 26th.   Once home, how tough will stairs be?    How long before I can shower?   Just wondering as I’m trying to plan a few things.  Did just buy a really comfy recliner.  

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3336
Joined: Jan 2010




The first few days or week or so will be a little rough. Then everyday will be a little better with maybe a bad day in between.




Jobie123's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec 2017

I had a radical nephrectomy and they had me out of bed the next day ! I was home after four days ! I couldn’t get up without someone helping me for a bit so too slept on a recliner for the first week at home !! Once your on your feet though I didn’t find stairs a problem x jo

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

Glad you came here with a very appropriate question. I had the same concern=stairs. But luckily I only had one to go up. Is your bedroom upstairs? And do you have a lot of stairs to get into your home?

I used the lumbar, velcro wrap used for bad back support. I have had several abdominal surgeries and used it for the last two. I also found the Robotic/laparascopic surgery much easier. I wore this lumbar wrap around my abdomen 24/7 at first. It helped me get UP from sitting and laying down.

I also put ice packs (not ice cubes) inside the wrap (over underwear) and it really helped with swelling, and pain from incisions. As a result I used less and less opiates. 

My surgeon told me there would be NO exercise, except walking for 1 month as your insides are healing.

To me, the hardest pain was the trapped gas. They use the gas to pump up your abdomen so the surgeon can see around your organs and maneuver the instruments easier. This gas is harmless but can get trapped, esp by the shoulder. It can be constant pain. It WILL dissipate. I moved my arms in circles to get the gas moving. Eventually its gone..whew!

So yes, plan, rest, walk, and recover. 

We'll be here for you all the way!

Sending you calm, healing hugs,


APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

Mine was also an open partial but I was fortunate because I had no trouble going up the stairs and sleeping in my own bed. I showered in the hospital on day 3, the day I went home. I think a lot depends on where the tumor is and how large the incision. Again, I was lucky because mine was under 4 inches. And I had no staples, only a surgical tape. So that probably made it easier. I was up walking the evening of the surgery and continued walking as much as possible before I went home and religiously afterwards. I was able to get up without help once home  on the third day. Make sure they teach you how to roll in bed to get up so you're not relying on your abdominal muscles that much. Get a large body pillow and a wedge pillow. Use the body pillow on the side of the incision and pile regular pillows on top of the wedge. This helped me sleep in my own bed.

I hope you will have a similar experience. All the best to you. Try not to worry too much; it was not nearly as bad as my imagination made it prior to the actual surgery.

tango xray's picture
tango xray
Posts: 26
Joined: Oct 2017

chiming in but I had an open partial November 1st and the nurses had me up and moving hours after leaving the recovery room and increased my walking each day... the last morning in the hospital, I got dressed and walked to the nurses station to get coffee, which totally shocked them!  I personally think the more you move the better but just be careful and if in doubt - don't! 

Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Good to know.  Seems most people have laproscopic done, so open kind of freaks me out.  I've heard getting up and moving/walking helps.  I plan to do that as much as possible, especially at the hospital before I come home.  My wife is super nervous about me being able to get around at home.  I keep telling her I'll be fine.  

Steve.Adam's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Oct 2016

Don't be freaked out, it will be ok. You should probably be a bit more careful with a longer cut while it is healing.

On the plus side you might not have any problem with gas.


Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

I'm told I have issues with gas.  LOL.

Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks everyone!   One step to get into my house.  One flight upstairs where my bedroom is.  I’m hoping to sleep in bed and hang out downstairs in a recliner.  Plan to get up now and then and walk around.  

ImNotDeadYet's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Apr 2017

Everyone heals and deals with the pain differently. Definitely walk as much as you can, but don't push yourself too hard. The pain is real, and if the meds help, take them as long as you need them. This is YOUR recovery and it is all about you right now. 

I was home from work for six weeks after my radical nephrectomy. I think I slept one night on the couch and then was able to get into bed. My SO was kind enough to give me the bed to myself for a while. It's all about baby steps and doing a little more along the way. You'll get there.

Best of luck to you!


Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Appreciate that.  You are right, everyone does heal differently.  I'm just gathering info on possibles.  It helps me plan/deal with what's to come.  Once it's here, I'll be on that journey day by day.  Just really appreciate any and all info I've been given since joining this site.  It's helped me cope with the news and the plans.  I've done much better mentally than I originally thought.  First few weeks were rough.  Been "fine" since.  Lots of support though too.  :)

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

My bedroom is upstairs and I live alone. I had a lap radical right nephrectomy and 2 years later a lap adrenalectomy. The first surgery I assumed I wouldn't want to do the stairs. I have a large bathroom so I got a small fridge and microwave and stocked food/water and everything I needed before my surgery. Turns out stairs weren't really that bad. I did spend most of the first few days in my room, but I was going outside for walks within a couple of days. A week later, I even took a trip to Las Vegas (I drove all the way back, which was 4 hours). Might not have been a good idea, but I was ok. I was able to shower pretty much right away because the wounds were covered with adhesive and not stitches. I stayed off work for 6 weeks and I was glad I did. Sittting was the most uncomfortable position for me, but I'm chubby and one of the largest incisions was a good 6" parallel to the ground. So, I preferred to stand and walk around a lot while watchin TV instead of sitting. My job is a sitting job. I was very glad to have the 6 weeks off. It was the energy level that was the main problem. I got really tired by late afternoon. I had that issue for many weeks, maybe even 3-4 months.

My advice it to do lots of walking and drink lots of water and do your breathing exercises religiously so you don't get pneumonia.

One of the biggest problems the first week is irregularity. My surgery was Monday. I didn't have a real BM until Friday night or Saturday and I was getting pretty concerned about it. However, they  clean you out completely before surgery and I was eating light/small meals. If you can not take the opiod pain relievers, I suggest you don't. They are very constipating and getting things moving is hard enough without that additional burden. I took them only as needed the first 1-2 days, and switched to tylenol as soon as I could.

Be sure to find out how to get in touch with your surgeon's nurse if you have any follow-up issues. There's no reason not to contact them if you have problems. Usually they'd have a doc on call to call you back. Redness. Swelling. Fever (you can expect a low fever, but you shouldn't have a high fever). Any colored, smelly discharge. These are things you have to take care of ASAP.

On my first surgery I had no issue with the adhesive. On the second surgery I had a terrible allergic reaction to the adhesive that delayed healing a lot. I've heard other people talk about that on here. You might ask your doctor about this issue. I was really shocked the doc didn't seem to care much that the adhesive was such a problem on my second surgery. I doubt I'll let them use adhesive on me again.

Hope something in here helped.

Best wishes,


Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks Todd.  That all helps.  I too have a desk job.  So I'm planning on using 6 weeks to recover.  I know all about the opiod pain meds.  Had my shoulder repaired 5 years ago.  I took the pain meds for a couple days, then advil.  Couldn't stand the stomach problems.  Those were worse than the pain in my shoulder.  :)  Very glad to hear about the stairs.  I'll go crazy being trapped either upstairs or down.  

APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

Careful with Advil. My surgeon recommended I use Tylenol instead of Ibufrofen type meds. Easier on the kidneys. Check with your doc.

Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks.  I will for sure.  I'll take what they say to take.  I just hate opioids.  They help for a few days but then the negatives outweigh the positives.  

AnnissaP's picture
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

I ended up being in the hospital for 1 week. When I got home I was useless for 1 week lol. Please please please take your time. Yes you want to stay mobile and help yourself along, but listen to your body. Pushing too hard will only set you back. Others warned me about this and they were soooo right!! Get on the bowel thing asap too. The constipation was more traumatizing then the surgery ahahaha.

Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2018

mybrother had an open radical nephrectomy done in september of 2017....he works out and is in good shape..he was back to work as a physical therapist in 6 weeks....i had a laproscopic radical nephrectomy done in dec 2017...i am 4 weeks removed now..i could not do stairs for the first two weeks i was home....tried once after first week..pain was moderate....and i was only doing extra strength tylenol for pain...so i waited another week...it is all about what your body tells you...and listen to the weight restrictions...i picked up my 17 lb. puppy yesterday and carried her outside.....big mistake...i am paying dearly for it today.....just remember it is all about you and your body.....GOOD LUCK with your surgery and your recovery


Mandakf's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2017

if You are a side sleeper it’s hard to get comfortable on  your back.  I found the hospital recliner more comfortable than the hospital bed. my family moved it up and down inches at a time to help get me comfortable.  I strongly recommend you have a friend or family member with you 24 / 7 for the hospital stay. I didn’t think I would need anyone and I was wrong!  My parents and husband took shifts and I needed them around to help me keep track of pain medicine, getting me up and down to go to the bathroom and Comfortable.  Caregivers and nurses aren’t that good anymore and it’s terrible to suddenly not be able to do anything for yourself.  

Posts: 111
Joined: Nov 2017

Good to hear.  I'll have my wife/family there for the vast majority of the time.  Should have lots of help.  Yes, I'm a side sleeper.  I'm sure I'll struggle getting comfy.   Glad I bought a new recliner for home.  Thinking I will be using it to relax or sleep in.

DAC677's picture
Posts: 60
Joined: Feb 2017

I have lots of stairs in my home. It was a concern for me too. Radical right neprectomy 10/16. 47 staples on the outside.

I was in the hospital 5 days. Stood hours after the surgery got sicked and slept for a day.

I rented a recliner for my home to help me stand and spent alot of time in it. I could do stairs with a side shuffle but it took a very long time and i slept for hours after.

The pain drugs (opiates) created the biggest problem for me with backed up plumbing. An extra pain and fear of hurting the internal and external sutures and the fact i didnt know what was wrong. no one told me what to expect.

Getting off of opioids and on to Tylenol (defintely no ibuprofrin) hurt but was the turning point in my recovery. For weeks i would walk or do stairs followed by hours of sleep. At first it was ten minutes followed by four hours, then 30 minutes followed by 3 hours of sleep and so on.

5 weeks after my surgery i climbed a deer stand hunted killed and cleaned a deer. (It was a goal i set for myself). Then i slept for three days....lol

Its unique for each of us, but you can do it, whatever you set your mind to.

mrjoe's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2018

Mandakf, not sure what hospital you were in but my nurses, every one of them were AWESOME..... I was at Long Island Jewish hospital in NY... Can't say enough about them and the dr's..


mrjoe's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2018

I had a had a radical open on my left side.. I was up and walking next day after surgery and home in 5... I have a 10" cut on my left side that healed pretty well (no staples).. Once home I was more concerned with my sons 80lb pit bull trying to lay and snuggle with me than with stairs. I had no issues with stairs tho.. I did not take any pain meds 3 days post surgery.. YMMV though.. do what you CAN but do NOT over do it..



kiwi68's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2017

OK. So i am a bit of a self confessed over planner.  I was worried about the stairs because I have 3 flights to the bedroom so moved a bed downstairs pre surgery.  By the time I got home from the hospital (3 full days) I could do stairs (4 days) but since all the living was downstairs it was kind of nicer resting with everyone.  I was able to cook (not clean up), sweep (very gently) and did these things as exercise to keep the body moving and the lungs exercising.  Getting big breaths if you have had CO2 gas to expand the abdoment is important to prevent pnuemonia.   

Plan before going in to take stool softeners, take your own best constipation fibre / laxative with you, one that agress with you if you know what it is.   They will have you up and walking as soon as you are able to prevent blood clots, you may have a drain, a catheter, for a short period, and a drip with pain meds.   Try and find out how they are going to approach pain management so you know if you have to ask and when.  I was saying I didn't need pain meds and they were well just a little more morphine, just a little more of this and that... ha!       

Warm compresses for the shoulder tip nerve pain from the phrenic nerve damage from the CO2 gas is the best I found.   Drugs don't seem to do anything for that,  though it starts to dissapate and keeps reducing as time goes on so it isn't too worrying, mine lasted 24 hours awful and then uncomfortable for a few days.  Kind of like a cramp in the neck and shoulder area. 

Showering - nurse showered me within 12 hours, I could have done it myself but it would have been a little harder.  She also did a nice masage.  Nice nursey. 

I did as many slow walks as I could in the hospital up and down the corridor to keep moving. 

Getting up from lying down was uncomfortable, but you can learn to roll over, use a rope or tied/folded sheet tucked into the end of the bed for help.   Use a small pillow for coughing or sneezeing, going in the car to brace against the wound.  And position your bed so you can roll to the side that isn't cut.  (Thank you APny and Jan4you). 

Ice or cool packs for swelling and don't overdo it. everyone is right, you will know when you did too much.   2.5 months post op I have been really active in my normal life, travelled overseas and decided to do pilates this week and some hard gardening and rooftop drain clearing up a ladder, well I can tell that all those wounds I though were magically healed are not completely healed, there is some weakness there.  So will keep going but moderately.  (I wasn't a pilates practiser before the operation). 

Soft loose comofortable clothes, and sensible non slip shoes.   

Have a plan for if things are not going well when you are home, who will you go see, what hours are they open/operate, if you have a problem it is hugely less if you can get adequate help without too much drama and waiting.   I made sure I knew which days my general practiioner worked, so I didn't end up deciding I needed to see her urgently when she had just quit for the day and wouldn't be back for a week. 

I had a great surgeon who visited daily (sat and sun) and who gave me his mobile number.  I didn't need it, but know when you should be talking to them, to your GP (primary care?) or the ER or urgent care. 

Try to get a clear picture of wound care, what is and isnt' normal. 

Best of luck. 

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