Background: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is the gold standard procedure for most adrenal masses. However, long-term data regarding this procedure are limited. We report our institution's experience with laparoscopic adrenalectomy, determine if this procedure results in durable weight loss and resolves hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or hyperlipidemia, and identify predictors of pathology in nonfunctioning tumors.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed laparoscopic adrenalectomies performed for adrenal masses between May 2000 and September 2010 by nine surgeons at a single institution. Data gathered included demographics, body mass index (BMI), preoperative and postoperative imaging and biochemical testing results, length of stay, complications, pathology, medications, and resolution of hypertension, diabetes, or hyperlipidemia.
Results: We removed 96 adrenal glands in 95 patients. Their average age was 55.6 years. The average length of stay was 1.8 days. Average BMI was 32.9 kg/m(2) preoperatively and 31.9 kg/m(2) postoperatively (P=.46). We experienced no conversions to open procedure and no perioperative mortality. Minor complications occurred at a rate of 1.2%. Indications for adrenalectomy were nonfunctioning tumor (n=35), pheochromocytoma (n=18), aldosteronoma (n=17), subclinical Cushing's syndrome (n=15), Cushing's syndrome (n=9), and sex hormone-secreting tumor (n=1). Hypertension improved or resolved in 63% of patients with Cushing's syndrome, 56% with aldosteronoma, and 47% with pheochromocytoma. When adrenalectomy was performed for nonfunctioning tumors, neoplasia was identified in 22.9% of patients. The most predictive factors for neoplasia were previous history of cancer and abnormal appearance on computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or positron emission tomography scan.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is a safe procedure with a low complication rate and short hospital stay. Hypertension improves in the majority of patients with Cushing's syndrome and aldosteronoma and just under the majority of those with pheochromocytoma. In our study, abnormal radiologic appearance was a better predictor of neoplasia than size.