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If conservative methods to treat adrenal gland problems do not work for you, your consultant may recommend surgery.

Your adrenal glands are two small organs located just above each kidney. They produce hormones that help control your blood pressure and chemical levels in your blood, manage how your body uses water, manage blood sugar levels and control how you respond to stress.

Sometimes tumours form in the adrenal glands causing an imbalance in the hormones produced. In the first instance you may be on medication to correct this imbalance. If conservative methods to treat adrenal gland problems do not work for you, your consultant may recommend surgery.

What happens during a laparoscopic adrenalectomy?

A laparoscopic adrenalectomy is usually performed under general anaesthetic.

Your surgeon will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen (stomach). They will use a laparoscope - a very thin tube consisting of a camera and light source - to light up the area around your kidneys. Surgical instruments will be inserted in the other incisions to remove your adrenal glands. Your wounds will be closed with stitches or staples.

After your operation

Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic. Your wounds, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully. Be sure and let our Healthcare Team know if you are in any pain.

You may also have a drip (infusion) going into your arm. This will keep you hydrated until you are able to drink, and it can also be used to give you pain relief. You may also have a catheter in your bladder to help you pass urine.

When you are stable and comfortable, a nurse will take you back to your room.

Back in your room

You may be asked to get up and move around fairly soon after your surgery. This is to prevent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). Be sure and let us know if you are in any pain or discomfort.

You may need to stay in hospital one to two nights.

Going home after a laparoscopic adrenalectomy

You will need someone to drive you home on the day you are discharged. You may feel tired for the first few days you are home. Rest when you can and engage in light activity. Continue to take any pain medication as prescribed.

Most people can return to normal activities about one week after surgery. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your surgeon.

What are the complications of laparoscopic adrenalectomy?

As with any surgery there can be complications:

  • General complications of surgery:
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (incision)
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots (DVT - deep vein thrombosis)

Specific complications of laparoscopic adrenalectomy might include:

  • Damage to other organs
  • Hernia developing at incision site
  • Difficulty passing urine

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

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