Although risk factors for failure of renal retransplants have been well studied, the impact of allograft nephrectomy on subsequent renal transplantation in the cyclosporin era is not well defined. The purpose of this study is to define the effect of nephrectomy of the primary allograft on subsequent allograft survival, early allograft function, incidence of acute rejection and patient sensitization. The records of 127 renal retransplant recipients were reviewed. Of these 127 patients who underwent retransplantation, 40 (31%) underwent nephrectomy of the primary allograft prior to retransplantation whereas 40 (31%) did not. Nephrectomy of cadaveric primary allografts was performed more commonly (48% vs 30%, p = 0.003) and earlier (78% vs 54% < 1 month post-transplant, p = 0.0006) in the pre-CSA period compared to the CSA period. Biopsy-proven acute rejection episodes occurred more frequently in the nephrectomy group (73% vs 42%, p = 0.03). Although primary allograft nephrectomy was associated with higher preformed antibody levels, it had no effect on early graft function, frequency of acute rejection or allograft outcome after retransplantation, in the CSA group. In conclusion, in the cyclosporin era, nephrectomy of the primary allograft has no significant influence on retransplantation.