Adrenalectomy

Definition

Adrenalectomy 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

Adrenal gland removal; Removal of adrenal glands

Description

Adrenalectomy can be performed in two ways. The type of surgery you undergo depends on the problem being treated.

The surgeon will discuss which approach is better for you.

For the surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).

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

With any operation or anesthesia, there is a slight risk of:

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

Outlook (Prognosis)

As with any operation, there will be discomfort after surgery.

Most patients who undergo laparoscopic adrenalectomy have a shorter hospital stay, less pain, and faster recovery compared to the open procedure.

Complete recovery from the procedure may take several weeks or longer, depending on the type of surgical cuts you have.

References

Yeh MW, Duh QY. The adrenal glands. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 41.