Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 397, Issue 2, pp 233–238 | Cite as

Minimally invasive cortical-sparing surgery for bilateral pheochromocytomas

  • Pier Francesco Alesina
  • Jakob Hinrichs
  • Beate Meier
  • Kurt W. Schmid
  • Hartmut P. H. Neumann
  • Martin K. Walz
Original Article



Cortical-sparing adrenalectomy in bilateral pheochromocytomas offers a postoperative corticoid-free course and has to be balanced against the risk of local recurrence. In this study we report our experience with the minimally invasive cortical-sparing adrenalectomy in patients with bilateral pheochromocytomas.


From January 1996 to February 2011, 66 patients (45 men, 21 women; mean age 36 ± 16 years) were treated for bilateral pheochromocytomas. Fifty-seven patients (88%) were affected by genetic diseases. In 32 patients surgery was synchronously performed on both side, in 34 cases adrenalectomy followed previous surgery. All in all, 101 operations (47 right, 54 left) were conducted using the retroperitoneoscopic access (n = 97) or the laparoscopic route (n = 4).


The mortality in our series was zero. Postoperative complications included one patient with a bleeding requiring reoperation and one patient developing a cerebral stroke on the fifth postoperative day. The mean operative time was 67 ± 26 min for unilateral adrenalectomy and 128 ± 68 min for bilateral surgery (range 25–300 min). A cortical-sparing resection was possible in 89 procedures resulting in a corticoid-free postoperative course in 60 patients (91%). A postoperative corticosteroid substitution therapy was necessary in six patients. During a median follow-up period of 48 months, one patient showed a persistent disease and needed reoperation, none developed a recurrent disease.


Cortical-sparing surgery for bilateral pheochromocytomas has a low recurrence rate and avoids lifelong cortisone substitution therapy in the majority of cases.


Pheochromocytoma Adrenalectomy Cortical-sparing adrenalectomy Bilateral pheochromocytomas Bilateral adrenalectomy Adrenal 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pier Francesco Alesina
    • 1
  • Jakob Hinrichs
    • 1
  • Beate Meier
    • 1
  • Kurt W. Schmid
    • 2
  • Hartmut P. H. Neumann
    • 3
  • Martin K. Walz
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinik für Chirurgie und Zentrum für Minimal Invasive Chirurgie, Kliniken Essen-MitteAkademisches Lehrkrankenhaus der Universität Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Pathologie und Neuropathologie, Universitätsklinikum EssenUniversität Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  3. 3.Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Abteilung für Innere Medizin IVUniversitätsklinikum FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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