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An adrenalectomy is a surgical procedure to remove adrenal glands, either one or both.
Adrenal glands produce various hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, blood sugar and other essential functions. An adrenalectomy is needed to remove an adrenal gland if the tumor is producing excess hormones or is large in size (more than 2 inches or 4 to 5 centimeters).

What to expect before an adrenalectomy?

Prior to the operation, some patients may need medications to control the symptoms of the tumor, such as high blood pressure. Dr. Raghunath will check the serum potassium levels and prescribe extra potassium if it’s low. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome will need to receive extra doses of cortisone medication on the day of surgery and for a few months afterwards until the remaining adrenal gland has resumed normal function. You will be asked to stop smoking if you do and doctor will review all your existing medications and may suggest you to stop some temporarily.
Preoperative preparation like blood tests, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition will be done. You will be prohibited to eat of drink after midnight before the operation.

What to expect during the surgery?

Adrenalectomy is performed under a complete general anesthesia. A cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument) is placed into the abdominal cavity in the upper abdomen. A laparoscope connected to a special camera is inserted through the cannula to help the doctor see the patient’s internal organs on a television screen.
Other cannulas are inserted which allow Dr. Raghunath to delicately separate the adrenal gland from its attachments. Once the adrenal gland has been dissected free, it is placed in a small bag and is then removed through one of the incisions. It is almost always necessary to remove the entire adrenal gland in order to safely remove the tumor. After Dr. Raghunath removes the adrenal gland, the small incisions are closed.

What to expect after surgery?

You will be transferred to surgical ICU for post-op care. Thereafter, you may be shifted to ICU and your BP, serum potassium levels will be strictly monitored. You will be pain medications to subside the operative pain. Most patients can be discharged from the hospital within one or two days after surgery. Once stable, on doctor’s advice you can remove any dressings and shower the day after the operation.
Most patients can be discharged from the hospital within one or two days after adrenalectomy. Dr. Raghunath will ask you to come for follow up after 2 weeks.


What are the risks associated with adrenalectomy?

Like with any procedure, adrenalectomy is associated with risk of certain complications:
• Adverse reaction to general anesthesia
• High blood pressure
• Bleeding
• Injury to other organs

Wound problems, blood clots, heart attacks, and other serious complications are rare after laparoscopic adrenalectomy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most patients can resume normal activities within one week, including driving, walking up stairs, light lifting, and work. You are encouraged to engage in light activity while at home after surgery. Speak to your doctor before carrying out any strenuous work.
Laparoscopic adrenal gland removal is minimally invasive and more commonly followed these days. Common advantages are:
• Smaller incisions
• Shorter hospital stay
• Les postoperative pain
• Better cosmesis
• Reduced risk of herniation or wound separation
• Faster recovery & return to normal activity

In a small number of patients the laparoscopic method cannot be performed. In that situation, the operation is converted to an open procedure. The decision to perform the open procedure is a judgment decision made by Dr. Raghunath either before or during the actual operation. When the surgeon feels that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather sound surgical judgment. The decision to convert to an open procedure is strictly based on patient safety.
Contact Dr. Raghunath and his team right away if you experience any of the following post discharge:
• Persistent fever over 101 degrees F
• Bleeding
• Increasing abdominal swelling
• Pain that is not relieved by your medications
• Persistent nausea or vomiting
• Chills
• Persistent cough or shortness of breath
• Pus from any incision
• Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
• You are unable to eat or drink liquids

Disclaimer Statement

This website is built with intention of providing basic details about the various diseases. The contents of the website is not meant to replace an in-person consultation. Please follow the advise of your doctor via in-person consultation. This website will not assume any legal responsibility for the patient’s medical condition.
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