Minimally invasive adrenalectomy
Duke endocrine surgeons are among the few in the country to remove adrenal tumors through your back with very small incisions. Posterior retroperitoneal adrenalectomy avoids painful abdominal incisions, and gets you back on your feet faster.
Surgical expertise in minimally invasive adrenal tumor removal
Our endocrine surgeons are skilled in the removal of adrenal tumors through small incisions in your back. This speeds our recovery, minimizes scarring, and lowers the risk of injury to abdominal organs. We use this technique for many types of adrenal tumors, including tumors which produce excess hormones, enlarged tumors, or cancerous masses that may have spread to the adrenal gland from other organs, such as lung cancer, colon cancer or ovarian cancer.
Choose Duke for minimally invasive adrenal gland removal because we offer:
- Experienced surgeons. Our surgeons are among the select few with the surgical expertise to perform these complicated adrenalectomies.
- Faster recovery, less scarring. Performing adrenal gland removal through small back incisions offers significant benefits over surgical removal of through your abdomen. Because the adrenal glands are found right above each kidney, we do not have to move any organs out of the way, such as your spleen, liver, pancreas and colon. You experience fewer risks, minimal scarring, less post-operative pain and faster recovery.
- Comprehensive surgical evaluation. Our highly specialized surgeons use minimally invasive posterior retroperitoneal adrenalectomy to treat pheochromocytoma, Cushing's and Conn's syndrome caused by a functional adrenal tumor. It may also be used to remove large benign tumors, cysts or malignant cancers (metastases) from other organs. It is not recommended for removal of very large adrenal tumors or tumors which appear to be adherent to other organs. Not all patients are candidates for this approach. Our thorough surgical evaluation will determine if this approach is right for you. If you are not a candidate for this procedure, we also perform traditional transabdominal laparoscopic adrenalectomy or open surgery.
- Reputation for excellence. We rank among the top hospitals in the country for endocrinology care by U.S. News & World Report. That means our specialists offer expert care for adrenal disorders using the most advanced tests, surgeries and treatments available today, as well as minimally invasive surgical options that can result in less pain, fewer complications, minimal scarring and shorter hospital stays.
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.
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.
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 scans or MRI 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.