The Adrenal Glands are Endocrine organs that provide many important hormones. Occasionally, a tumor can develop which may secrete excess hormones. These tumors are usually benign, but can secrete excess Aldosterone, Cortisol, or Epinephrine/Norepinephrine (fight or flight hormones). The excess hormones can cause high blood pressure, electrolyte abnormalities, fatigue, weight gain, diabetes, and/or palpitations. Sometimes tumors grow quickly or appear suspicious for a cancer. If an Adrenal tumor is secreting excess hormone, is growing quickly, is over four centimeters, or appears suspicious for cancer, it should be removed.


  • Adrenalectomy involves removing the effected adrenal gland from their location resting as a“cap” on the kidney.
  • Most of the time, adrenalectomy can be performed laparoscopically (using a camera and small incisions) through the back. This avoids manipulation of the stomach, intestines, and colon, and can improve surgical recovery. It can also be performed laparoscopically through the abdomen, if there is a specific reason why the back approach is not desirable.
  • Rarely, if there is a large high suspicion mass or known cancer, a larger incision will be needed to remove the adrenal gland.
  • One adrenal gland is typically all people need to provide enough hormones for the body to function. It is very rare to need steroids long-term after adrenal surgery for 1 gland, but if it occurs, there are oral steroids which can be prescribed.
  • If the adrenal gland is being removed because it is secreting hormones that can cause high blood pressure, these medications can often be decreased or even stopped under your doctor’s supervision after surgery. However, in some patients, particularly with other risk factors for high blood pressure, those medications may need to be continued.

Risks (All less than 1%)

  • Bleeding
  • Injury to surrounding structures, including the kidneys, colon, spleen, liver, and major blood vessels of the body
  • Infection
  • Conversion to an open surgery, if it cannot be completed safely laparoscopically

Adrenal Surgery Visuals and Incision Photos

Disclaimer: Please be advised the following links contain Visual and Incision Photos for Adrenal Surgery.