Minimally Invasive Adrenalectomy

Minimally Invasive Adrenalectomy

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Duke endocrine surgeons use small incisions to remove adrenal tumors through your back. Posterior retroperitoneal adrenalectomy avoids painful abdominal incisions and gets you back on your feet faster. This speeds your recovery, minimizes scarring, and lowers the risk of injury to abdominal organs. We use this technique for many types of adrenal tumors, including tumors that produce excess hormones, enlarged tumors, and cancerous masses that may have spread to the adrenal gland from other organs, such as the lungs, colon, or ovaries.

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Surgical Options

Minimally Invasive Approach

Posterior retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy (PRA) requires that you lie face down on the operating table. Your surgeon will place a small, lighted camera into your back (flank) through small incisions. This allows your surgeon to view and access the adrenal glands. Small surgical tools are used to remove the adrenal gland containing the tumor, or only a portion of the gland if possible.

Open Surgery

If you are not a candidate for minimally invasive retroperitoneal adrenalectomy, we may recommend open surgery, which requires larger incisions, usually in the abdomen. This is typically indicated for people with very large adrenal tumors that cannot be removed laparoscopically or are adherent to other organs.

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Surgical Consultation

Once a diagnosis of your adrenal tumor has been secured, a surgical consultation is advised to determine if you need surgery or if you can be safely monitored without surgery. If an adrenal tumor is identified, a thorough evaluation is necessary to ensure that the tumor is not releasing excess adrenal hormones. This testing is very important and should include adequate imaging of the adrenal glands and the tumor. Our surgeons are experts in evaluating adrenal masses and can guide you through the process and help determine whether or not you need surgery.  

CT and MRI Scans

These tests produce detailed, high-quality, 3-D pictures of your adrenal glands your doctor uses to look for abnormalities and assess your anatomy. Sometimes, other scans need to be performed, which can determine how functional the adrenal mass may be. Choosing the right test is important to obtain the best information with the least amount of radiation and discomfort on your part.

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