Adrenalectomy

1 What is an Adrenalectomy?

Read on to learn more about your adrenalectomy procedure. Each kidney has one adrenal gland sitting on top of it.

Your two adrenal glands produce a number of hormones that help regulate your:

  • metabolism
  • immune system
  • blood pressure
  • blood sugar
  • and other very important functions
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In the case where a noncancerous or benign  adrenal tumor or adrenal cancer is found, you may require surgery to remove the adrenal gland that has the developed the tumor.

This procedure is commonly known as an adrenalectomy. You might also need an adrenalectomy to remove cancer that has spread (metastasized) from a different location, such as the kidney or lung.

If one adrenal gland is taken out, the other will take full function without the need for supplemental medications. Your doctor can explain your treatment options and discuss whether an adrenalectomy is the best treatment for you.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo an adrenalectomy.

The adrenal gland removed from the body when there is known cancer or a growth that has a possibility of being cancer.

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In some cases, the mass in the adrenal gland is removed because it releases a hormone that can cause harmful effects.

One of the most common tumors is a pheochromacytoma, which can cause very high blood pressure.

Other disorders such as Cushing syndrome, Conn syndrome and an adrenal mass of an unknown cause.

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3 Potential Risks

The risk of the adrenalectomy, anaesthesia and surgery in general are:

  • reaction to medicine
  • breathing problems
  • bleeding
  • blood clots or infection

Surgery may lead to the damage of nearby organs and a wound that breaks open or bulging tissue through the incision (incisional hernia).

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4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for your adrenalectomy, you must follow your doctor’s orders.

It is important to tell your surgeon or nurse if you are or could be pregnant and also what medicines you are taking, even drugs, supplements or herbs you bought without a prescription.

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During the days before the surgery

You may be told to stop taking medication that makes it difficult for your blood to clot. These medicines include

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • aproxen
  • clopidogrel
  • warfarin
  • and many others

You should also ask your surgeon which drugs you should still take on the day of the  surgery.

If you smoke, it is advisable to give it up. Smoking slows down recovery and increases the risks of developing problems. Ask your health provider for help quitting.

On the day of the surgery

Follow the instructions about when to stop eating and drinking. Take the drugs the doctor recommended and arrive at the hospital on time.

5 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your adrenalectomy will be made possible by your doctor.

As with any operation, discomfort will be present after the procedure. Your health provider will proceed to prescribe pain medication.

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You may also need stool softeners to avoid constipation. Your surgeon will also guide you on how to limit your activities.

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