Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

What are Adrenal Glands

The two glands sitting on the top of the kidneys with half inch in width and approximately 3 inches in length are called Adrenal Glands. Adrenal Glands are divided in two parts: 1. Outer part of the Adrenal Glands is called Adrenal Cortex and 2: Inner part is called Adrenal Medulla.

Adrenal Cortex produces life sustaining hormones like

Glucocorticoids

  • Hydrocortisone
  • Corticosterone

Mineralcorticoids

  • Aldosterone

Adrenal Medulla produces hormones like:

  • Epinephrine
  • Norepinephrine

What Causes Adrenal Gland Problems?

There are very rare diseases arising out of adrenal gland problems. You may need to remove adrenal glands if there is a tumor in the adrenal gland, and the tumor is producing excess hormone. These tumors are generally non cancerous and can be removed with laparoscopic techniques.

In a situation if the tumors are really large, or malignant (Cancerous) the whole adrenal gland may required to be removed, even if the tumors are not producing excess hormones, Although luckily malignant tumors are rare.

Conditions Related to Adrenal Gland Problems

Adrenal gland conditions are disorders related to Adrenal gland. Hyperfunction or hypofunction can be caused by it, and condition may be congenital or acquired.

The condition related to the adrenal gland is related to the disorder in the production of hormones like mineralocorticoids,glucocorticoids, and androgens, produced by adrenal cortex, and epinephrine and norepinephrine produced by adrenal medulla. The hormones are responsible for regulation of kidney functions, stress, growth and development.

What are the Advantages of Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Removal?

Previously making a 6 to 12 inch large incision in the abdomen, back or flank was the norm for the removal of adrenal gland tumor. Today laparoscopic adrenalectomy also known as minimally invasive surgery can be performed by making an incision of ¼ to ½ inch, which helps patients recover fast and leave the hospital in 24 to 48 hours. The recovery depends on the condition of the patient and the procedure performed.

Some common advantages of laparoscopic adrenalectomy are:

  • Patient suffers very less postoperative pain
  • Due to faster recovery, the hospital stay of the patient is shorter
  • Due to smaller incision and less wear and tear, the patient can return to normal lifestyle very quickly
  • Due to minimal incision surgery, patients get better cosmetic results
  • Herniation and wound separation risk are negligible

Are you a potential patient for removal of Adrenal Gland

Laparoscopic Adrenal gland removal may not be good or suitable for everyone. You need to get a detailed medical checkup and analysis by an expert qualified surgeon along with your family physician and endocrinologist, to know whether this is the suitable surgery for you.

How is Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Removal Performed?

The patient is given general anesthesia in order to perform the surgery when the patient is completely asleep. A narrow instrument is inserted into the abdominal cavity or the flank just below the ribs.

A special camera connected with the laparoscope is inserted through the cannula which gives a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs to the surgeon on the TV screen. Other tube like instruments are inserted to delicately separate the attachments of the adrenal gland. The Adrenal gland is then placed in a small container (bag) and is then removed from one of the incision. To safely remove the tumor, it is absolutely compulsory to remove the entire adrenal gland.

After the surgery the incisions are closed.