Adrenelectomy is a surgery in which one or both adrenal glands are removed.

October 6, 2022

Adrenelectomy is a surgery in which one or both adrenal glands are removed.

Some facts about Adrenelectomy: 

  • Adrenal glands are a pair of small glands that sits just above each kidney and produce important hormones
  • Although, Adrenal tumors are uncommon, and most are not cancerous, but tumors can cause adrenal glands to make too many hormones, causing troubling symptoms
  • They are part of your endocrine system, which produces sex hormones, adrenaline and cortisol that affect growth, development, sexual function and metabolism.
  • Adrenalectomy to remove an adrenal gland may be rquired if the tumor is producing excess hormones or is large in size (more than 2 inches or 4 to 5 centimeters
  • You also may need an adrenalectomy if you have a cancerous tumor.
  • An adrenalectomy is also required to remove cancer that has spread from another location, such as the kidney or lung.
  • The remaining gland will take over if only one gland is removed.
  • However, you will need to take hormone medications if both adrenal glands are removed
  • Only the tumor, one gland or both may be removed during the procedure.
  • Surgery that removes one gland is a unilateral adrenalectomy where as both the glands are removed in a bilateral adrenalectomy
  • A hydrocortisone supplement may be taken for about a year after surgery, until the remaining gland starts making enough hormone on its own by the eople with a diagnosis of cortisol excess (Cushing's syndrome) 

Preparation for Adrenelectomy:

  • Certain medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can interfere with blood clotting may need to be stoped.
  • Food and water the day before surgery will be resricted.
  • Medication to control high blood pressure should be taken before surgery.

Types of Adrenelectomy and their Procedure:  

A minimally invasive or traditional open surgery can be done for an Adrenelectomy.
Cryoablation may also be used by the surgeon.
The recommended procedure depends on the size and type of tumor or the condition affecting your adrenal gland.

Minimally invasive surgery.:

Minimally invasive surgery is used by the surgeon when the gland is relatively small.
Laparoscopic surgery is done by the surgeon through several small cuts (incisions).
A tiny camera and surgical instruments will be used for the procedure so that doctors have a magnified, 3D view of the surgical site. 
Laparoscopic surgery has smaller scars, less pain and a shorter recovery period than traditional open surgery.
Posterior retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy (PRA) is an alternative to laparoscopic surgery in which surgeons make small cuts (incisions) in your back.
Robot-assisted adrenalectomies is performed by some doctor in which surgery is done through small cuts (incisions) using robotic arms with a camera and instruments attached
A high-definition, magnified, 3D view of the surgical site is provided by the camera.

Open surgery:

Open surgery is usually reserved for large or cancerous tumors.
Open surgery is performed by using traditional instruments and cuts (incisions)


Cryoablation uses CT imaging to guide doctors as they insert a probe that freezes and destroys adrenal tumors.
Cryoablation is used by imaging specialists as a treatment option for small tumors that have spread to the adrenal gland, particularly when surgery carries a high risk.