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


Adrenalectomy 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.

For the surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia. This is medicine that keeps you 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 of anesthesia and surgery in general include:

Risks of 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 of problems. Ask your health care provider for help quitting.

On the day of surgery:

Outlook (Prognosis)

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

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


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.