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Adrenalectomy: Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and traditional open procedures

Fiemu Nwariaku, MD, FACS, FWACS
Section Editor
Sally E Carty, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


An adrenalectomy is performed for benign, nonfunctional (eg, incidentaloma), and malignant tumors. The indications, preoperative evaluations, and outcomes are discussed in topic reviews of the management of specific adrenal disorders.


The anatomy of the adrenal glands is reviewed separately (figure 1 and figure 2). (See "Surgical anatomy of the adrenal glands".)


Principles of resection — The optimal approach to an adrenalectomy continues to evolve as surgeons develop expertise with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approaches (abdominal and retroperitoneal) in different clinical settings (eg, large malignant tumors, bilateral tumors). Limitations of MIS include surgeon expertise, availability of equipment, and relatively high institutional costs, particularly for robotic-assisted procedures.

The basic surgical principles to minimize intraoperative complications of an adrenalectomy are the same regardless of surgical approach (ie, open versus MIS, or abdominal versus retroperitoneal), and include:

Wide exposure and visualization of the operative field


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jul 8, 2015.
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