Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

This operation is carried out for patients with a tumour of the adrenal gland. In general, primary adrenal tumours should be removed if they are overproducing a hormone (such as aldosterone, adrenaline, or cortisol) or if they are suspicious for malignancy. Occasionally, tumours from other organs spread to the adrenal gland and need to be removed.

Care of patients with adrenal tumours is shared between a surgeon like Mr Keeley and an endocrinologist, who organises and interprets the tests needed to make a diagnosis. 

When surgery is recommended, Mr Keeley prefers to perform it using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery in order to minimise the risk of complications and the time needed to recover. He will discuss the procedure in detail with you at the time of a consultation as well as on the day of surgery. You will need a general anaesthetic and will meet the consultant anaesthetist on the day of surgery.

The operation is carried out with 3 or 4 small incisions in the upper abdomen. The adrenal gland is detached from its blood supply using fine instruments, then removed through one of the incisions. 

You will have a catheter in to drain urine from your bladder during the procedure. This may be removed while you are still under the anaesthetic or the following morning. Blood tests are carried out the following day to see if your remaining adrenal gland is functioning properly.

You will be sent home a few days after the operation, provided you are well. Mr Keeley will advise you on what you should and should not do after you are home.

You will be reviewed by Mr Keeley in outpatients a few weeks later to check on your recovery and discuss the histological findings of the adrenal tumour. You might consider bringing along a family member for support. 

For further information, click here to download a leaflet produced by the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS).