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Tumors of Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are organs that are lying on top of the kidneys. Their primary function is production of several hormones including adrenalin, cortisone and aldosterone. The tumors of this gland are not so common. Out of all tumefactions malignant tumors occur in rather rare cases. Benign tumors are more common. Still even if the tumor is benign in most cases it is hormonally active and leads to significant increase of the specific hormone which consequently results in symptoms and signs of the disease. This is why even benign tumors of the adrenal gland can lead to drastic hormonal imbalance and pose serious threat to the body.

All functional benign tumors of adrenal gland need to be surgically removed. In case that tumor is benign and not hormonally active it is mostly resected after it reaches certain size. In malignant tumors apart from resection of the affected gland (adrenalectomy) the surgeon also removes the regional lymph nodes. After the surgery some patients require life time supplements of adrenal hormones.Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy

This is minimally invasive surgical approach. It is performed under general anesthesia and the surgeon removes the adrenal gland with the assistance of endoscope. There are no huge scars and the recovery time does not last long. This approach takes minor risk of postoperative complications.

Open Adrenalectomy

Open adrenalectomy is radical procedure. It is performed in malignant tumors of the adrenal gland, in obese people and in patients who have already undergone certain abdominal operations. Even, if the surgeon starts operating laparoscopically he/she may at some point transfer to open surgery due to certain circumstances such as problems with visualization of the operating field or some potential complications.

In open adrenalectomy the surgeon can make incisions either on the back or the front part of the abdomen. The patient is hospitalized and the recovery time takes approximately several weeks.

Palliative Surgery

Palliative surgery is performed in advanced stages of malignant tumors. In Adrenal tumors the goal of palliative surgery is to lessen the symptoms of the disease. The tumor can be in this case only partially removed and this way the compression of the nearby structures can be obtained. Additionally, this will result in pain reduction.

Prior the operation the surgeon has to perform certain tests and it is important that he/she is familiar with the circumstances inside the abdominal cavity. Namely, CT scan of the abdomen can visualize all the organs including the tumor and its relation to surrounding tissues. The best way to visualize tumor is to perform MRI of the abdomen. Apart from imaging methods blood test are performed. They provide with the information of the level of adrenal hormones.

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