Surgical Technique
February 1999

Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of General Surgery, Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Surg. 1999;134(2):212-217. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.2.212

Advances in minimally invasive surgery have made it possible to remove solid organs such as the adrenal gland laparoscopically. Several studies have shown that when applied to appropriate operative candidates, laparoscopic adrenalectomy is a safe alternative to conventional open surgery with real advantages in terms of decreasing postoperative pain and length of hospital stay and allowing earlier return to normal activity. The indications for laparoscopic adrenalectomy are essentially the same as those described for open adrenalectomy. We do not recommend laparoscopic adrenalectomy for known primary or metastatic malignant tumors of the adrenal glands, because of the risk of tumor implantation that might compromise the patient's chance for cure, nor do we recommend it for lesions larger than 6 to 8 cm where the chance of malignancy is high. The preoperative preparation, laparoscopic instruments, operative techniques, and potential complications and their treatments are described in this review. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is becoming the preferred method of surgically treating many adrenal problems. Although conventional surgical approaches will undoubtedly be required to treat certain adrenal lesions, surgeons with an interest in treating patients with adrenal disorders must become proficient in the technique of laparoscopic adrenalectomy. This will allow them to select the most appropriate operative approach for their patients' individual problems.