, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 480-485

Laparoscopic resection of large adrenal tumors

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The maximum size of adrenal tumors that should be removed with a laparoscopic approach is controversial. It has been suggested that laparoscopic adrenalectomy is appropriate only for adrenal tumors <6 cm in size. We report our experience with laparoscopic adrenalectomy in patients with adrenal tumors of ≥6 cm compared with patients with smaller tumors.


We retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of patients who had a laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Patients were considered candidates for laparoscopic adrenalectomy if their computed tomography (CT) scan showed a well-encapsulated tumor confined to the adrenal gland.


Sixty laparoscopic adrenalectomies were performed in 53 patients. Twelve of the adrenalectomies (20%) were for tumors that were ≥6 cm (median, 8 cm; range, 6 to 12 cm). There have been no local or regional recurrences but one patient with adrenocortical carcinoma developed pulmonary metastases. When the 12 patients with large tumors were compared with the 36 patients with tumors <6 cm, the median operative time (190 vs. 180 minutes;P=.32), operative blood loss (100 vs. 50 mL;P=.53), and postoperative hospital stay (2 vs. 2 days;P=1.0) were similar.


The size of an adrenal tumor should not be the primary factor in determining whether a laparoscopic adrenalectomy should be performed. Large adrenal tumors that are confined to the adrenal gland on CT can be removed with a laparoscopic approach.