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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.
Adrenal gland removal; Removal of adrenal glands
Adrenalectomy can be performed in two ways. The type of surgery you will 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 always 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.
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:
After the Procedure
It is important to have the procedure done at a center that is experienced in adrenal gland removal.
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.
Duh QY, Yeh MW. The adrenal glands. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 39.
Review Date: 1/26/2011
Reviewed by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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