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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


Surgical 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 for adrenalectomy continues to evolve as surgeons develop expertise with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approaches (abdominal and retroperitoneal) in different clinical settings. Factors that influence the choice of surgical approach include large or malignant tumors, bilateral tumors, or extensive prior abdominal surgery. 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 and include:

Wide exposure and visualization of the operative field


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Literature review current through: May 2017. | This topic last updated: May 23, 2017.
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