Subtotal Nephrectomy

Available in: Rats and Mice Anesthetics Analgesic
Pre-Operative Procedures Intra-Operative Care Post-Operative Care

Surgical Preparation

The animal is anesthetized and clipped over the dorsal or abdominal region, depending on the desired approach. Sterile eye lubricant is placed in both eyes, and the clipped skin area is surgically prepared. The animal is placed on a surgery board fitted with a sterile board drape. Analgesic is administered.

Surgical Description

The surgical site is draped with a sterile drape. The following will be assuming a dorsal approach. All post-incision surgical description remains essentially unchanged for an abdominal approach. To expose the kidney, a midline longitudinal incision is made to the skin midway along the dorsal region at the level of the kidneys. A small transverse incision is made in the muscle tissue above the left (or right) kidney. Padded retractors may be used to increase surgical visibility. The kidney is externalized and isolated with temporary ligatures. The caudal and cephalic poles of the kidney are excised and the kidney is repositioned in the abdominal cavity. The renal vessels of the remaining unmodified kidney are permanently ligated and the kidney is excised. The approximate fractional excised kidney tissue (1/3, 1/2, 5/6 etc) can be altered for the desired model.

When using an abdominal approach, the surgical site is draped with a sterile drape, and midline longitudinal incisions are made to the abdomen at the level of the kidneys. Padded retractors are used to increase surgical visibility. All additional processes are followed in the same manner as outlined above. The abdominal cavity is flushed with sterile saline.

Surgical Closing

The dorsal incisions (or ventral if using the abdominal approach) are closed with approved closing materials (suture or stainless steel clips), and the surgery sites are treated with an approved disinfectant followed by an alcohol swabbing.


A standard sham subtotal nephrectomy model is prepared as described above with regards to surgical site preparation, exposure of the kidney, wound closing, and surgical site disinfection; however, no ligation or excision occurs.