Approaches to Adrenalectomy


Open Adrenalectomy

Open adrenalectomy may be necessary if there is an underlying concern for malignancy (cancer). It is usually performed through a subcostal incision (a surgical cut made just below the ribs) on the side of the adrenal grand that is going to be removed.

Laparoscopic Approach

The laparoscopic approach is the gold standard for removal of the adrenal glands in most cases.

Advantages of laparoscopic adrenalectomy include:

  • Less pain
  • Smaller scars
  • Less hospitalization time
  • Quicker recovery

The Procedure

  • Patient will be lying on his/her side (right or left, depending on which adrenal gland is going to be removed).
  • In an average case, four small incisions will be made in the abdominal wall to introduce the laparoscopic instruments and camera.
  • The adrenal gland will be dissected away from the surrounding structures.

Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy After

This photo shows the location of the patient's incisions following a laparoscopic adrenalectomy. You can also view a photo taken during the operation.


This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.