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Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

Clinical Information
The adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are 2 small glands that are located on top of each kidney. The main role of the adrenal glands is to make hormones including adrenaline or steroids. Normally, only one or part of one adrenal gland can produce enough hormones for the body. Surgical removal of an adrenal gland, or adrenalectomy, is most commonly performed for a tumor located within the adrenal gland that is either producing too many hormones or is potentially cancerous. Frequently, the hormones produced by an adrenal tumor can cause high blood pressure, headaches, tremors, and other symptoms. Generally, patients are referred for an adrenalectomy after an abdominal CT scan reveals an enlarged adrenal gland.

An abdominal CT scan showing an enlarged adrenal gland
An abdominal CT scan showing an enlarged adrenal gland

Laparoscopic adrenalectomy

Prior to the development of laparoscopic adrenalectomy, the removal of an adrenal gland consisted of a moderate to large incision and a hospital stay of 3 to 7 days. With laparoscopic adrenalectomy, most patients go home the day after surgery with minimal pain and some go home on the same day of surgery. The surgery occurs through 3 or 4 small incisions measuring less than 0.5 inches in size. Many patients return to work within 5 to 10 days.

Incisions during a laparoscopic adrenalectomy

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