The adrenal glands, usually located near the top of each kidney, provide essential hormones to the body. These two triangular-shaped yellow organs control the body's fluid and salt regulations, blood pressure, muscle development, sexual drive and sugar metabolism, as well as act as a source of adrenaline. Like the kidneys, only one adrenal gland is usually required to live a normal life.
Laparoscopic adrenalectomies, developed in the mid 1990s, are usually performed to remove a benign mass on the adrenal gland, particularly Conn's tumors and sporadic pheochromocytoma, non-cancerous growths that through hormone secretion can cause extremely high blood pressure. While diseases of the adrenal gland are relatively rare, laparoscopic surgery has proved to be a major advancement for the management of adrenal tumors.
Benefits of laparoscopic adrenalectomies include less postoperative pain, shorter hospital stay, quicker return to normal activity, less incidence of complications, less need for pain medication and reduced risk of herniation or wound separation.
Patients who are extremely obese, have a history of prior abdominal surgery resulting in dense scar tissue, or have a history of blood disorders may not be candidates for the laparoscopic method.
Large tumors (usually those greater than 10 centimeters) or those suspected of being malignant may require the traditional "open" surgery. Please schedule a consultation with one of The Miriam Hospital's specially trained surgeons to conclude whether or not a laparoscopic adrenalectomy is the right procedure for you.