The surgical treatment of adrenal tumours has evolved over the past century, as has our understanding of which hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands and what these hormones do. This article reviews the preoperative evaluation of patients with adrenal tumours that could be benign or malignant, including metastases. The biochemical evaluation of excess levels of hormones is discussed, as are imaging characteristics that differentiate benign tumours from malignant tumours. The options for surgical management are outlined, including the advantages and disadvantages of various open and laparoscopic approaches. The surgical management of adrenocortical carcinoma is specifically reviewed, including controversies in operative approaches as well as surgical management of invasive or recurrent disease.