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An adrenalectomy is a surgical procedure where one or both (bilateral adrenalectomy) adrenal glands. are removed. An adrenalectomy can be performed using an open incision or laparoscopic technique.

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands located above the kidneys. An adrenalectomy is generally performed to remove benign or malignant  tumors of the adrenal glands. Some oversecrete hormones such as cortisol or aldosterone causing severe hormonal imbalances.


If both adrenal glands are removed, patients must take steroid supplements of cortisone and hydrocortisone.


Adrenal Surgery at UCSF


UCSF is a major referral center for endocrine surgery. Surgeons at UCSF perform a high volume of endocrine surgery procedures with generally excellent results.


In many cases, a laparoscopic adrenalectomy can be performed, a minimally invasive surgery using tiny incisions and a small scope connected to a video camera. The camera sends a magnified image from inside the body to a monitor, giving the surgeon a close-up view of the adrenal anatomy who operates with miniature surgical instruments that have been passed through the scope.


Laparoscopic adrenalectomy has key advantages for patients including:


  • Less post-operative pain

  • Faster recovery from surgery

  • Shorter hospital stay

  • A more rapid return to work and normal activities



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