Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

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Contents of this page:


Endocrine glands
Endocrine glands
Adrenal gland biopsy
Adrenal gland biopsy

Alternative Names    Return to top

Adrenal gland removal; Removal of adrenal glands

Definition    Return to top

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.

How the Test is Performed    Return to top

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    Return to top

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

How the Test Will Feel    Return to top

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

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

Why the Test is Performed    Return to top

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

Normal Results    Return to top

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

What Abnormal Results Mean    Return to top

Risks    Return to top

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.

Considerations    Return to top

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

Update Date: 10/24/2007

Updated 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.

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