Our expert surgeons offer a variety of treatments to address cancer in patients. The type of treatment chosen will significantly depend on your condition’s severity and overall health needs.
Your care could include medication, radiation, or chemotherapy. As a last resort, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor or your adrenal glands.
The team of urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta can provide a state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment plan to tackle your adrenal cancer and restore your health. Book an appointment with one of our board-certified urologists at one of our locations throughout Georgia today!
What Is the Meaning of Adrenalectomy?
Adrenalectomy is the removal of the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. A surgeon may recommend adrenal surgery if you have adrenal tumors larger than 2 inches or if they produce hormones.
You may be more likely to develop adrenal cancer if you have inherited a genetic disposition such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS).
Open Surgery vs. Laparoscopic Surgery
Adrenalectomy used to be performed only through open surgery. It involved making a large incision in your abdomen, side, or back.
However, with minimally invasive surgery, the adrenal gland tumors can now be removed while making only small incisions. As the adrenal gland sits in the back, under the 12th rib, it is much easier to remove the adrenal gland using scope-like instruments.
Our skilled surgeons use laparoscopic surgery when removing the adrenal glands. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy has the following benefits over open surgery:
- Less pain
- Quicker post-op recovery
- Smaller scars
- Lower risk of problems during the healing process
Robotic surgery is also available. This technique uses the same instruments as mentioned above. However, a robotic arm allows for more precise movements instead of being held in a doctor’s hand.
In the case of adrenal gland cancers or a rare type of tumor, open surgery will still be used because they are too large to remove through the incision made in laparoscopic surgery.
How Is Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Removal Performed?
A laparoscopic adrenal gland removal is performed by a surgeon who will take the following steps:
- First, general anesthesia is used during laparoscopic adrenal gland removal.
- After falling asleep, the surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen and insert a small narrow tube. The tube will give access to a camera called the laparoscope. This allows the surgeon to see the adrenal gland on the screen and operate safely.
- Then other tubes will be inserted to access the instruments that will remove the entire adrenal gland.
- Next, the adrenal gland is detached from the kidney and pulled through one of the small incisions.
- To finish, the surgeon closes the small incisions.
How Long Does It Take to Recover After an Adrenalectomy?
Using the minimally invasive procedure, recovery time after adrenalectomy usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks. During that time, you will feel some soreness.
What Happens After an Adrenal Gland Tumor Removal Surgery?
After the surgical procedure, you will be given pain relief medication and blood pressure medications according to your needs.
If you had one adrenal gland removed to treat a cortisol-producing tumor or Cushing’s Disease, you would be prescribed steroid pills. The overproduction of the cortisol hormone from that tumor will stop almost immediately.
As your remaining adrenal gland increases its natural production of steroids, your dosage will decrease. If you have both adrenal glands removed during your adrenalectomy, or the other adrenal gland is not working properly, you may need to take medications to maintain proper hormone levels.
If your tumor is cancerous, you may need follow-up appointments to ensure the cancer does not come back.
Is It Safe to Remove Adrenal Glands?
Laparoscopic adrenal gland removal is a relatively safe surgery. If there are any complications, they usually happen during medical care or afterward. They can include:
- An allergy to general anesthesia
- Low or high blood pressure
- Injury to other organs
- Improper healing of the incisions
Seek Treatment Today
The team at Urology of Greater Atlanta offers a variety of treatments for adrenal cancer, depending on the severity of your condition and your overall health needs. Your treatment plan could include medication, radiation, or chemotherapy. Surgery may sometimes be necessary to remove the tumor or your adrenal glands.
Book now to see one of our board-certified urologists! We have locations throughout Georgia for your convenience.