Adrenal Gland Surgery

Surgery to remove the adrenal gland (adrenalectomy) is often used to treat adrenocortical carcinoma. Sometimes the nearby lymph nodes are also removed. Surgery is the best option for addressing overactive adrenal glands. This condition can sometimes be caused by an abnormality of the glands itself. Most often, this is due to nonmalignant tumors of the gland tissue called adrenal adenomas. (Cancerous tumors can also be a cause, but they are much less common.) Adrenal gland surgery to treat this condition means removing one or both adrenal glands. The surgeons can often minimize the invasiveness of these operations by using a laparoscopic approach.

The surgery is performed under a complete general anesthesia, so that the patient is asleep during the procedure. A cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument) is placed into the abdominal cavity in the upper abdomen or flank just below the ribs. A laparoscope (a tiny telescope) connected to a special camera is inserted through the cannula. This gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a television screen.

Other cannulas are inserted which allow your surgeon 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 the surgeon removes the adrenal gland, the small incisions are closed.

These adrenal tumor can be diagnosed through MRI or CT scan,this will help the surgeron to locate the exact area of the tumor too.

Post-operative care

The duration of the hospital of a patient really depends on the surgical procedure the patient under went. The longest hospital stays are required for open surgery using an anterior approach; hospital stays of about three days are indicated for open surgery using the posterior approach or for laparoscopic adrenalectomy.

The special concern after adrenalectomy is the patient’s hormone balance. There may be several sets of required lab tests to define hormone problems and monitor the results of drug treatment. In addition, blood pressure problems and infections are more common after removal of certain types of adrenal tumors.

As with most open surgery, surgeons are also concerned about blood clots forming in the legs and traveling to the lungs (venous thromboembolism), bowel problems, and postoperative pain. With laparoscopic adrenalectomy, these problems are somewhat less prevalent, but they are still present.

Though the state-of-the-art surgical procedure is safe and easily but the following are the risks involved in normal surgery

  • Any surgical incision in the abdomen may be at risk of developing a hernia long after the operation
  • Heart and circulation problems such as heart attack or blood clot formation
  • Abnormally high or low blood pressure
  • Wound infections, may be more likely in people with diabetes or steroid therapy
  • Bleeding during the operation

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