Laparoscopic Method Preferred for Adrenal Surgery

Posted: Dec 12 in Surgery Blog tagged by Staff

The adrenal glands are two glands that sit atop the kidneys and produce important hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Like every other organ in the body, the adrenal glands are subject to diseases, some so severe that the glands have to be removed. Among the reasons that an adrenalectomy would be necessary are Cushing’s syndrome and the presence of adrenal gland tumors.

Traditionally, an adrenalectomy is a very invasive procedure. The surgeon makes incisions in the side, and the surgical wound is held open by retractors while the surgeon reaches in, pushes other organs out of the way, cuts the adrenal gland away from the kidney, removes it, then closes the wound with sutures or clips. This procedure brings with it the risks of surgical wound infection and excessive bleeding.

More and more, laparoscopic surgery is being used to remove the adrenal gland. In laparoscopic surgery, a surgeon makes much smaller incisions and uses specialized instruments, one of which is a tiny, guiding camera. Other instruments are inserted into the small incisions to do the actual operation. The abdominal cavity is gently filled with air by one instrument while a fan retractor holds other organs out of the way. When the adrenal gland is snipped away from the kidney, it’s tucked into a little bag and pulled out of the small incision. This surgery greatly reduces the risks of traditional adrenal surgery.

Not every patient is a candidate for this type of surgery. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy works best with small tumors, tumors that release hormones, larger tumors that don’t release hormones and tumors thought to be benign. Tumors that are large and malignant are hard to see fully with the laparoscopic camera and often need to be dealt with more aggressively than tumors that are small and benign.

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