Adrenalectomy is the removal of one or both adrenal glands. There is one gland on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands make several hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, and sex steroids.
Your adrenal gland may be removed if you have any of the following:
Complications may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.
Your doctor will likely do some or all of the following:
Let your doctor know which medicines you are taking. You may be asked to stop taking or adjust the dose of certain medicines (eg, aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel).
In the days leading up to your procedure:
You will need to go to the hospital sooner if your blood pressure is not controlled. The doctor will need to stabilize your blood pressure.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.
You will be given IV fluids, antibiotics, and steroid medicines. With the laparoscopic approach, the doctor will make 3-4 small incisions in the abdomen. A tiny camera will be passed through one of these openings. To allow a better view, the abdomen will be filled with gas. Other tools will be used to separate the adrenal gland from the kidney. The gland will then be removed through an incision. Stitches or staples will be used to close the incisions. Small bandages will be placed.
The doctor may place a tiny, flexible tube where the gland was removed. This tube will drain fluids that may build up. It will be removed within one week.
The doctor may need to switch to an open surgery if there are any problems.
You will be monitored in the recovery room.
You will have pain or soreness. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
Recovery time may be 7-10 days. To help ensure a smooth recovery:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Urological Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada: British Columbia Branch
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Last reviewed November 2012 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012
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