Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general include:
Reaction to medicines
Bleeding, blood clots, or infection
Risks for this surgery include:
Damage to nearby organs in the body
Wound that breaks open or bulging tissue through the incision (incisional hernia)
Acute adrenal crisis in which there is not enough cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands
Before the Procedure
Tell your surgeon or nurse:
If you are or could be pregnant
What medicines you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription
During the days before surgery:
You may be asked to stop taking medicines that make it hard for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Ask your surgeon which drugs you should still take on the day of the 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:
Follow instructions about when to stop eating and drinking.
Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
Arrive at the hospital on time.
After the Procedure
While in the hospital, you may:
Be asked to sit on the side of the bed and walk on the same day of your surgery
Have a tube, or catheter, that comes from your bladder
Have a drain that comes out through your surgical cut
Not be able to eat the first 1 to 3 days, and then you will begin with liquids
Be encouraged to do breathing exercises
Wear special stockings to prevent blood clots
Receive shots under your skin to prevent blood clots
Receive pain medicine
Have your blood pressure monitored and continue to receive blood pressure medicine
You will be discharged in 1 or 2 days after the surgery.
You can remove the dressing and shower the day after the surgery, unless your surgeon tells you otherwise.
You may have some pain and may need to take medicine for pain.
You can start doing some light activities.
Recovering from open surgery may be painful because of where the surgical cut is located. Recovery after a laparoscopic procedure is most often quicker.
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:
If you had surgery for Conn syndrome, you may have to stay on blood pressure medicines.
If you had surgery for Cushing syndrome, you are at risk for complications that will need to be treated.
If you had surgery for pheochromocytoma, the outcome is usually good.
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.