Adrenal gland removal


Adrenal gland removal is an operation in which one or both adrenal glands are removed. The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are located just above the kidneys.

Alternative Names

Adrenalectomy; Removal of adrenal glands


You will receive general anesthesia for the procedure. You will be placed in a deep sleep by an anesthesiologist so that you do not feel pain.

Adrenal gland removal can be performed in two ways. The type of surgery you have depends on the problem being treated.

The surgeon will discuss which approach is better for you.

After the adrenal gland is removed, it is sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

The adrenal gland is removed when there is known cancer or a growth (mass) that might be cancer.

Sometimes a mass in the adrenal gland is removed because it releases a hormone that can cause harmful side effects.


Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general include:

Risks for this surgery include:

Before the Procedure

Tell your surgeon or nurse:

During the days before surgery:

If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking slows recovery and increases the risk for problems. Ask your health care provider for help quitting.

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

While in the hospital, you may:

You will be discharged in 1 or 2 days after the surgery.

At home:

Recovering from open surgery may be painful because of where the surgical cut is located. Recovery after a laparoscopic procedure is most often quicker.

Outlook (Prognosis)

People who undergo the laparoscopic surgery mostly have faster recovery than with open surgery. How well you do after surgery depends on the reason for the surgery:


Lim SK, Rha KH. Surgery of the adrenal glands. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 66.

Smith PW, Hanks JB. Adrenal surgery. In: Jameson JL, Groot LJD, Kretser D, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap111.

Yeh MW, Livhits MJ, Duh QY. The adrenal glands. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 39.