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Adrenalectomy


Definition:

Adrenalectomy is surgery to remove one or more adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are located just above the kidneys.

Alternative Names:

Adrenal gland removal; Removal of adrenal glands

How the test is performed:

Adrenalectomy is a procedure that can be performed using traditional "open" surgery or less invasive laparascopic techniques. Laparoscopic procedures use smaller surgical cuts than open surgery.

For the surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free). The surgeon makes a surgical cut in the abdomen and removes the adrenal gland through this opening. (The size and number of cuts depends on which surgical technique is used.)

The tissue is sent to a pathologist for examination.

How to prepare for the test:

You should not eat or drink anything, even water, for 8 hours before the procedure.

How the test will feel:

As with any minimally invasive surgery, there will be some discomfort after surgery.

  • Your health care provider may prescribe pain medications.
  • You may need stool softeners to avoid constipation.
  • Physical activities are encouraged to strengthen the abdominal wall muscles.

Complete recovery from the procedure may take 1 to 2 weeks.

Why the test is performed:

This surgery is most often performed when there is an adrenal mass or a tumor (such as a pheochromocytoma).

Normal Values:

This procedure is performed only when there is an abnormality (as identified by other testing).

What abnormal results mean:
What the risks are:

There is a slight risk of infection or bleeding with any invasive procedure. Call your health care provider if you notice any signs of infection (such as fever, muscle aches, or drainage from the incision site) or bleeding.

Special considerations:

It is important to have the procedure done at a center that is experienced in adrenal gland removal.


Review Date: 10/24/2007
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor or Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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