Minimally invasive resection of adrenal masses in infants and children: results of a European multi-center survey

Surg Endosc. 2017 Nov;31(11):4505-4512. doi: 10.1007/s00464-017-5506-0. Epub 2017 May 26.


Background: Minimal access adrenal surgery (MAAS) for adrenal pathologies is the standard for many pediatric surgical centers. However, the literature offers few reports and minimal evidence from small case series. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of pediatric MAAS through a multi-center data analysis.

Method: Pediatric patients who underwent MAAS between January 2002 and December 2013 were retrospectively included. Data analysis was conducted using Spss software (Welch's t-test, X-square, Fisher tests, multiple regression model).

Results: Six European centers participated, 68 patients were included with mean age of 5.2 years (2 months-16 years). Lesion volume was of 18.1 cc (0.78-145.6), with a mean diameter of 2.8 cm (1.1-6.5). Localization was 50% left-sided masses, 45.6% right-side masses, and 4.4% bilateral. Histological examination revealed 36 neuroblastomas, 15 adenomas, nine pheochromocytomas, three ganglioneuromas, two ganglioneuroblastomas, one bilateral hyperplasia, one adrenocortical carcinoma, an alveolar sarcoma, and a calcification. Surgical access was transperitoneal in 63 (92.6%) and retroperitoneal in 5 (7.4%). Mean operative time was 170 ± 87 min (285 ± 30 min for bilateral lesions). Mean hospital stay was 4.2 ± 2.5 days. Complications included blood loss requiring transfusion in five patients (7.4%) and a diaphragmatic tear. Infiltration of surrounding structures correlated with intraoperative complication rate (p = 0.027) and operative time (p < 0.01). No mass rupture, conversion, or post-operative complications were observed. Median follow-up was 52 months (1-161). Two recurrences occurred in patients with pheochromocytoma. Age, weight, symptoms, characteristics at imaging, chemistry, volume, or histology, did not influence operative time, hospital stays, or complication rate.

Conclusions: Pediatric MAAS was safe adopted for masses up to 145.6 cc, with a very low rate of complication. Conversion to open is not necessary even in the presence of infiltrations. MAAS should represent the first-line treatment for selected cases in centers experienced in laparoscopy.

Keywords: Adrenal mass; Children; Laparoscopic adrenalectomy; Minimally invasive surgery; Neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Adrenalectomy / adverse effects
  • Adrenalectomy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Operative Time
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome