April 1979

The Continued Importance of Adrenalectomy in the Treatment of Cushing's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Prinz and Paloyan) and Medicine (Drs Brooks and Lawrence), Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill; and the Research Service, Veterans Administration Edward Hines, Jr, Medical Center, Hines, Ill (Dr Prinz).

Arch Surg. 1979;114(4):481-484. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370280135020

• Eighteen patients with pituitary-dependent Cushing's disease have been treated during a ten-year period. Eleven of these received a total of 14 alternative forms of therapy in an attempt to control the clinical manifestations of Cushing's disease prior to adrenalectomy. However, no substantial improvement was noted in these patients, who included four receiving conventional pituitary irradiation, five receiving cyproheptadine, two receiving mitotane, and one each receiving metyrapone and phenytoin. One patient had an attempted transsphenoidal hypophysectomy that could not be accomplished because of hemorrhage. A complete remission of the signs, symptoms, and laboratory abnormalities of Cushing's disease occurred in all 18 patients following bilateral adrenalectomy. There was no operative mortality and morbidity was minimal. This experience confirms that bilateral adrenalectomy is a rapid, safe, and permanent means of reversing hypercortisolism and that it should remain an integral part of the treatment of Cushing's disease.

(Arch Surg 114:481-484, 1979)