Background: The pathologies and size of adrenal lesions removed through the open posterior and laparoscopic routes share remarkable similarities. This study aims at comparing the relative merits of these two approaches.
Methods: Patients with adrenal tumors operated on by posterior approach (n = 56) and transabdominal laparoscopic approach (n = 12) between January 1981 and May 1997 were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: The two groups were comparable in terms of age, and the position, size, and weight of the tumor. The operative time of posterior adrenalectomy was significantly shorter than that of laparoscopic adrenalectomy (median 120 minutes versus 160 minutes), whereas laparoscopic adrenalectomy was associated with less parenteral analgesic requirement (median 0 mg versus 225 mg), a shorter hospital stay (median 3 days versus 5 days), and a shorter duration off work (median 11 days versus 26 days). The estimated blood loss was also significantly reduced in the laparoscopic group (median 50 mL versus 150 mL).
Conclusions: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is replacing posterior adrenalectomy to become the procedure of choice for the majority of patients undergoing adrenalectomy.