Adrenal surgery has been revolutionalized recently with the advent of operative laparoscopy. A laparoscope is like a telescope and through this “minimally invasive” approach an adrenal gland can be removed, thereby minimizing the amount of post-operative pain and the overall recovery period. In some patients with very large tumors of the adrenal gland (>8 cm) or other confounding problems, the laparoscopic approach is not recommended and the standard, larger incision is preferred. However, in most patients requiring an adrenalectomy, the laparoscopic approach is appropriate.
Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is now being performed on a routine basis at our centre. The benefits of the minimally invasive approach are quite clear in regard to post-operative pain and length of hospitalization. Most patients require only a single night hospital stay after the surgery. Patients report a requirement for pain medications that lasts an average of 5-7 days with a “return to normal activities” by 10-15 days. These results represent a significant improvement compared to the standard open adrenalectomy that has been done in the past.