If a tumor in the adrenal gland is the cause of the Cushing’s syndrome, surgery to remove the affected adrenal gland, known as an adrenalectomy, is the preferred treatment option. Removing the affected adrenal gland generally reverses any symptoms caused by the tumor. If both adrenal glands need to be removed, then patients will need to take medications to replace the hormones that would normally be excreted by the adrenal glands.
In a traditional adrenalectomy, an incision is made over the abdomen or side in order to provide direct access to the adrenal gland. A laparoscopic adrenalectomy requires smaller incisions. During a laparoscopic procedure, three to four half-inch incisions are made, and surgeons use a camera for visual guidance and special instruments to remove the adrenal gland or glands. With a laparoscopic adrenalectomy, most patients go home within 24 to 72 hours and experience minimal pain and a shorter recovery time than patients who have a traditional adrenalectomy.
The majority of our adrenalectomies are performed using laparoscopic methods.
At Yale Endocrine Surgery, our multidisciplinary team is highly experienced in the surgical treatment of pheochromocytomas. Our surgeons are specially trained in both traditional and laparoscopic techniques. Before any procedure, our surgeons will answer all your questions and address all your concerns so that you feel comfortable with what to expect.
Some patients may not be able to have their tumors treated surgically because of the way it is growing or if it is cancerous and has spread to other parts of the body. In these cases, the patient should work with their endocrinologist to determine the best course of treatment.