Not all kidney diseases are cancerous. However, even benign kidney disease can cause significant problems, including damage to the other functioning kidney.
Here is a look at how your doctor can deal with serious, though not malignant, kidney problems.
Deciding What Is Wrong
Thanks to advanced medical imaging technology, your doctor can get an accurate overview of the health of your kidneys. A radiology test, called a nuclear kidney scan, can measure how well a kidney is functioning. He can check its structure with a CT scan.
What he might find is simply a cyst, a sac filled with fluid. Or he might see evidence of cystic disease, a much more damaging condition, which can cause the kidney to stop working.
Other reasons a kidney might not function well, or at all, include:
- An obstruction
- High blood pressure
- Vascular damage
- Recurring infections
- Severe kidney stones
- The effects of smoking
Removing a Non-Functioning Kidney
Patients are understandably worried when a doctor recommends removing a non-functioning kidney. If it isn’t malignant, it seems safer simply to leave it alone.
The problem is that it can affect how well the other kidney works, which in turn upsets the delicate balance of the body’s system. Kidneys are essential for removing not just excess fluid, but also an oversupply of minerals like potassium or calcium. They also help create necessary hormones.
In many cases, patients are very open to the surgery because the diseased kidney is causing pain, recurring infections, or contributing to high blood pressure.
Laparoscopic Urological Surgery
Kidney surgery has made major advances in the last decades. Previously, a kidney was removed during major surgery through a large incision in the abdominal region or the lower rib area.
Now it can be done through a button-hole incision using a procedure called laparoscopic simple nephrectomy. After being placed in a protective plastic bag, the kidney is removed in sections. The entire process has much less risk and much quicker recovery times.
Avoiding Kidney Problems
The best way to keep your kidneys healthy is to adopt a lifestyle that enhances your overall wellness. Exercise, clean eating, and keeping a check on cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes are the best ways to prevent problems with your kidneys. Smoking is a prime contributor, so giving up the habit is essential.
Your doctor can recommend other preventive measures appropriate for your specific health needs. These might include avoiding certain medications and avoiding high protein diets.
If you have any questions about how laparobotic surgery can help you or someone you know with kidney problems, contact us here, or call (404) 705-5201.