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Surgical Kidney Exploration

An open kidney exploration is a surgery that allows doctors to assess kidney function. This type of exploration is typically performed when diagnostic imaging or less invasive procedures do not provide enough information, or when a specific issue needs to be addressed surgically.

Also known as: surgical kidney exploration is also referred to as an open kidney exploration.

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Everything you need to know

You might need to have surgical kidney exploration if you suffer from issues, such as:

  • Kidney tumours
  • Structural abnormalities, such as cysts or anatomical issues
  • Trauma – if there is trauma to the kidneys, surgical exploration may be necessary to assess the extent of the damage and repair any injuries
  • Kidney infections that do not respond to other treatments

Before surgery

If you’re experiencing kidney problems, book an appointment with one of our consultant urologists.

In the first appointment, the doctor team will run through what this procedure may look like, they’ll also have you closely monitored, take tests, and decide on the best way to treat you.

During surgery

For many patients, this surgery typically begins will general anaesthetic and a small incision in the abdominal or flank area to access the kidneys. Minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopy, involve making small incisions through which a laparoscope and specialized instruments are inserted. This approach reduces recovery time compared to open surgery.

Once the surgeon gains access to the kidneys through the chosen approach, the kidneys are carefully examined for tumours, cysts, or other abnormalities. If necessary, tissue samples may be collected for biopsy. Surgical corrections or removal of abnormal tissues can be performed as needed. Haemostasis (control of bleeding) is crucial during the procedure. After completing the necessary interventions, the incisions are closed.

You’ll then be taken to the recovery ward.

After surgery

This can be quite an invasive procedure for people to go through, so don’t be surprised if you struggle to bounce back straight away. You might be encouraged to stay in the hospital for a few days after.

Most likely, the healthcare provider will prescribe you prescription pain medicines – make sure you’re taking prescription pain medicines as written on the sheet, and from the advice of the team.

When you’re released from the recovery hospital room, make sure you have an adult family member on hand to take you home and to look after you over the next few days. It’s important that you also look at the skin, incision area, and wound for any additional incision site damage, for example:

  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • A urine odour

If you have any issues, make sure to call the team urgently. If not, make sure you attend the follow-up visits. Here, we’ll be able to assess any issues with bowel movement, check on nearby nerves, help you with taking medicines, and ensure you can sleep comfortably.

It’ll likely be six months until everything is back to normal, and you can live regular life. However, wait for the sign-off from a healthcare provider for when you’re ready to drink alcohol again.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.