Nephrectomy is the surgical process of removing a kidney or a part of a kidney. Though the human body has two functioning kidneys, it was determined years ago that it can function and excrete urine with just one. Nephrectomy is a major surgery performed under general anesthesia in which a physician makes an incision in the abdomen, disconnects the ureter and blood vessels and removes the kidney. The procedure can also be done as a laparoscopic procedure. Typically a nephrectomy is performed if one of the kidneys is diseased, is non-functioning or has a congenital defect. For those who wish to donate their kidneys as a living donor, a nephrectomy is typically the procedure performed.