Purpose of review: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy for malignant adrenal masses has been controversial because of initial reports of high rates of local recurrence and carcinomatosis. With additional experience, improved outcomes have been reported. We evaluate the contemporary role of laparoscopy in treating adrenal malignancies.
Recent findings: Several contemporary reports now demonstrate that laparoscopic adrenalectomy for primary adrenal malignancy can provide oncologic outcomes equivalent to open surgery without an increased risk of carcinomatosis or port site recurrence. Although long-term survival of 47 months with no recurrence has been reported, the underlying aggressiveness of this tumor has contributed to a 39.6% rate of recurrence for the 48 contemporary cases reviewed in this article. This compares favorably to open series that report a similar or higher recurrence rate. When utilized for the treatment of solitary metastases to the adrenal gland, laparoscopic adrenalectomy provides equivalent oncologic outcomes to open adrenalectomy.
Summary: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy for malignancy can be performed in appropriately selected cases with equal oncologic outcomes to open approaches while providing advantages in patient morbidity. Caution must be taken to avoid tumor entry or spillage because of the potential for local recurrence, port site recurrence, and carcinomatosis that can occur with these aggressive tumors.