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Adrenalectomy​​ Overview

Adrenalectomy is the surgical removal of the adrenal gland. The adrenals are two small glands located on top of each kidney, just below the rib cage. They produce hormones that help regulate blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, sleep patterns, and other functions. In some cases, these hormones can be overproduced by the adrenal glands due to a tumor. 

It may cause symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, weight gain, and low energy levels when this happens. If the tumor is cancerous, it may spread cancer to other parts of the body in which a surgeon may also recommend an adrenalectomy. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to more serious problems.

Table of Contents

What causes adrenal problems?

The most common problem with the adrenals is a tumor. Tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). When the adrenal gland has a tumor, it can overproduce hormones your body requires to work properly.

Types of adrenalectomy surgery

Surgeons typically perform the adrenalectomy via minimally invasive surgery, but this can be different on a case-by-case basis. Some surgeons may perform this procedure as open surgery, depending on the situation. Other treatments such as cryoblation may also be used to these types of tumors. Your doctor will assess what type of surgery is appropriate for your situation.

How are adrenal problems diagnosed?

Adrenal problems can be diagnosed with urine and blood tests. This is done to see if there is an overproduction of hormones. The following steps typically involve a CT Scan or an MRI to locate and identify the tumor.

Can this surgery be done robotically?

Yes, some surgeons can perform the adrenalectomy via robotic surgery methodology. Talk to your doctor to see if the robotic version of this procedure is appropriate for you.

How is the recovery after surgery?

Everyone’s recovery time is different. You may feel soreness after surgery. The symptoms of over hormone production related to the tumor on the adrenal gland typically go away right after surgery. Most patients recover two to three weeks after surgery.

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