Conversion During Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy for Pheochromocytoma: A Cohort Study in 244 Patients

J Surg Res. 2019 Nov;243:309-315. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2019.05.042. Epub 2019 Jun 26.


Background: Recent advances in anesthetic and laparoscopic surgical management have improved perioperative outcomes in patients with pheochromocytoma. However, patients converted to laparotomy during laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma have never been evaluated specifically in terms of intraoperative hemodynamic instability and postoperative complications.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of prospectively maintained databases in five medical centers from 2002 to 2013. Inclusion criteria were consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic unilateral total adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma.

Results: Two hundred forty-four patients were included. Mean tumor size was 43.9 ± 20 mm with 92 patients (38%) having a tumor diameter > 50 mm. During adrenalectomy, 19 of 244 patients (7.7%) had to be converted to laparotomy. In multivariable analysis, the need for preoperative hospitalization (3.379, 1.209-9.445; P = 0.020), tumor size > 6 cm (2.97, 0.996-8.868; P = 0.050), and ratio of intraoperative systolic blood pressure >200 mmHg duration to anesthesia duration (1.060, 1.007-1.117; P = 0.027) remained significantly associated with conversion. Conversion was significantly associated with postoperative grade II-V Clavien morbidity rate (4.259, 1.471-12.326; P = 0.007) and duration of hospitalization (12.92, 2.90-58.82; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This study shows that preoperative hospitalization and larger tumor were more frequent in patients undergoing conversion to laparotomy during laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma. Conversion is associated with increased intraoperative hypertensive episodes and postoperative complications rate. Clinicians should be cognizant of these risks and prepare patients appropriately for conversion when deemed necessary.

Keywords: Adrenalectomy; Conversion; Laparoscopy; Morbidity; Mortality; Pheochromocytoma; Postoperative complications.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Adrenalectomy / methods
  • Adrenalectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Laparotomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pheochromocytoma / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies