Radical removal of the adrenal gland

What is this?

This involves removal of the adrenal gland and surrounding fat for suspected cancer of the adrenal

What alternatives are there?

Observation, embolisation, laparoscopic surgery

What to expect before procedure

You will usually be admitted on the same day as your surgery. You will normally receive an appointment for pre-assessment, approximately 14 days before your admission, to assess your general fitness, to screen for the carriage of MRSA and to perform some baseline investigations. After admission, you will be seen by members of the medical team which may include the Consultant, Specialist Registrar, House Officer and your named nurse. You will be asked not to eat or drink for 6 hours before surgery and, immediately before the operation, you may be given a pre-medication by the anaesthetist which will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy. You will be given an injection under the skin of a drug (Clexane), that, along with the help of elasticated stockings provided by the ward, will help prevent thrombosis (clots) in the veins.

What happens during the procedure?

Normally, a full general anaesthetic will be used and you will be asleep throughout the procedure. In some patients, the anaesthetist may also use an epidural anaesthetic which improves or minimises pain post-operatively. The operation is usually performed through an incision in your loin (side). On occasions, the incision is made in the front of the abdomen or extended into the chest area. Absorbable sutures are used which do not require removal. A temporary bladder catheter and wound drain are often inserted. These are normally removed after 4-5 days

After the procedure

You will be given fluids to drink from an early stage after the operation and you will be encouraged to mobilise early to prevent blood clots in the veins of your legs. The average hospital stay is 10 days.

Potential side effects