Urology of Greater Atlanta


What Is the Meaning of Adrenalectomy?

Adrenalectomy is the removal of the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The surgeons at Urology of Greater Atlanta 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). The team of urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment to get rid of the tumor and restore your health.

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 be removed while making only small incisions.

The surgeons at UGATL 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 at UGATL. This technique uses the same instruments as mentioned above. However, instead of being held in hand, a robotic arm allows for more precise movements.

In the case of adrenal gland cancers, a rare type of tumor, open surgery will need to be used because they are too large to remove through the incision made in laparoscopic surgery.

How Is Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Removal Performed?

  1. First, general anesthesia is used during laparoscopic adrenal gland removal.
  2. 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.
  3. Then other tubes will be inserted to access the instruments that will remove the entire adrenal gland.
  4. Next, the adrenal gland is detached from the kidney and pulled through one of the small incisions.
  5. To finish, the surgeon closes the small incisions.

What Happens After Surgery?

After surgery, 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. 

As your remaining adrenal gland increases its natural production of steroids, your dosage will decrease. If both adrenal glands are removed, or the other adrenal gland is not working properly, you may need to take medications to maintain proper hormone levels.

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
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to other organs
  • Infections
  • Improper healing of the incisions

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. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor or your adrenal glands. 

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