Adrenal Surgery


Adrenal surgery refers to procedures performed on the adrenal glands. Adrenal surgery can be laparoscopic or open and typically involves the removal of a tumor or a portion of the gland. When it is necessary to remove both adrenal glands, it is common to begin hormone supplements or also have surgery on the pituitary gland.

What is it?

This procedure is usually done to remove tissue from the adrenal gland, which may contain a tumor. There are two such glands, and parts from either one or both may need to be removed. The tumor may or may not be cancerous, and this may lead to different symptoms.

What should I do to prepare?

If a patient is receiving adrenal surgery, it is important that he or she follows the eating and drinking restrictions set by the doctor to avoid complications with anesthesia. The doctor should be informed of the patient’s medications and medical conditions so that these factors can be included in the treatment plan. Certain medications like NSAIDS, aspirin, and vitamin supplements should be stopped for a week before the surgery, as should smoking. The patient may need to be placed on a liquid diet just before surgery. Additionally, the patient may need to flush his or her intestines out using a prescribed or over-the-counter laxative. The patient should make transportation accommodations to be driven home after the surgery.

What happens during the process?

This procedure requires patients to undergo general anesthesia. If a laparoscopic approach is used, multiple small incisions will be made through which the adrenal gland is accessed. Otherwise, an open surgery involves a large incision. The tissue will be removed using surgical equipment specific to each procedure type.

What are the risks and potential complications?

This procedure involves risks as with any surgical treatment. Specifically, there is the possibility of bleeding, infection, blood clot development, lung infections, adrenal insufficiency, and injury to the large blood vessels and organs located near the adrenal glands.


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