Adrenal gland removal
Adrenal gland removal 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.
Adrenalectomy; Removal of adrenal glands
You will receive general anesthesia that allows you to be asleep and pain free during surgery.
Adrenal gland removal 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.
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 for anesthesia and surgery in general include:
Risks for 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 for problems. Ask your health care provider for help quitting.
On the day of surgery:
After the Procedure
While in the hospital, you may:
You will be discharged in 1 or 2 days after the surgery.
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:
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, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 111.
Yeh MW, Livhits MJ, Duh QY. The adrenal glands. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 39.
Review Date: 3/12/2019
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.