One adrenal gland sits above each of your kidneys. Your two adrenal glands produce various hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, blood sugar and other essential functions. If a noncancerous (benign) adrenal tumor or adrenal cancer is discovered, you may require an adrenalectomy (uh-dree-nul-EK-tuh-me) to remove the adrenal gland that has the tumor. If one adrenal gland is removed, the other takes over full function without the need for supplemental medications.

Your doctor can explain your treatment options and discuss whether an adrenalectomy is the most appropriate treatment for you.

Surgeons may perform adrenalectomy through laparoscopic or traditional open surgery. The procedure recommended depends on the size and type of tumor or the condition affecting your adrenal gland.

  • Minimally invasive. Tumors of the adrenal gland are usually appropriate for minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery because the gland is relatively small. Laparoscopic surgery has many benefits, including smaller scars, less pain, less risk of developing a hernia and a shorter recovery period than traditional open surgery.
  • Open surgery. Open surgery is performed using traditional instruments and incisions and is usually done for large or cancerous (malignant) tumors.
  • Expertise and experience. Surgeons at Mayo Clinic have extensive experience in performing adrenalectomies. Mayo Clinic experts perform most adrenalectomies using minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopic surgery.
  • Multispecialty care. Mayo Clinic emphasizes a team approach to diagnosis and treatment. Your team may include experts in endocrinology, surgery and other areas, such as medical oncology and radiology, if needed.
  • Latest research. Mayo Clinic doctors conduct research to develop diagnostic and management criteria for hormone-secreting tumors, including aldosteronoma, Cushing syndrome, pheochromocytoma and nonfunctioning adrenal adenoma.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks #1 for diabetes and endocrinology in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for diabetes and endocrinology by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

At Mayo Clinic in Arizona, doctors diagnose and treat all types of endocrine disorders. Specialists in endocrinology work with doctors from general surgery and other specialties as needed, such as medical oncology and radiology, to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Florida, doctors diagnose and treat all types of endocrine disorders. Specialists in endocrinology work with doctors from general surgery and other specialties as needed, such as medical oncology and radiology, to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, doctors diagnose and treat all types of endocrine disorders. Specialists in endocrinology have access to the Endocrine Testing Center where complex diagnostic studies are done. They also work with experts in endocrine surgery and other specialties as needed, such as medical oncology and radiology, to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Researchers in endocrinology are active in clinical studies of treatment options for endocrine disorders and adrenal gland conditions. Read more about endocrinology research.

Publications

See a listing of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on adrenalectomy on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 17, 2011