An incision will be made under the rib cage or abdomen. The adrenal gland will then be removed through the incision. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over the site.
The doctor may place a tiny tube into the area where the gland was removed. The tube will drain fluids that may build up after surgery. It will be taken out within one week after surgery.
Immediately After Procedure
The adrenal gland(s) will be sent to a lab to be checked. You will be sent to a recovery room.
How Long Will It Take?
1½ hours to 3½ hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Medicine and home care help.
Average Hospital Stay
4 to 5 days
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
Give you pain medicines
Give IV fluids until you are able to eat
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incision
It will take about 4 to 6 weeks to recover. Physical activity will be limited during this time. You will need to delay your return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision
Nausea or vomiting
Pain that you cannot control with medicine
Problems urinating, such as bleeding that does not go away
New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Aporowicz M, Domosławski P. et al. Perioperative complications of adrenalectomy—12 years of experience from a single center/teaching hospital and literature review. Arch Med Sci. 2018 Aug; 14(5): 1010–1019.
Cushing Disease. EBSCO DynaMed wesbite. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cushing-disease. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Open Adrenalectomy Technique. Medscape. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1895027-technique. Accessed January 12, 2021.
You and your hormones. Society for Endocrinology. Available at: https://www.yourhormones.info/glands/adrenal-glands. Accessed January 12, 2021
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/12/2021
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