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Keywords:

  • adrenal glands;
  • adrenalectomy;
  • laparoscopy;
  • malignancy

Objectives:  The treatment of malignant adrenal tumors using laparoscopic surgery remains controversial. We thus compared the perioperative outcome of the laparoscopic adrenalectomy for the treatment of malignant tumors with the outcome for benign tumors. We also evaluated the oncological outcome of the laparoscopic adrenalectomy for a malignancy.

Methods:  Since 1999 a total of nine laparoscopic adrenalectomies for a malignancy have been performed in nine patients. The median adrenal tumor size was 3 cm. The laparoscopic approach was transperitoneal in all cases. Seven patients had no evidence of a systemic metastatic disease, whereas two patients with a metastatic renal cell carcinoma had systemic metastatic disease at the time of the operation.

Results:  The median operation time was 165 min and the estimated blood loss was 75 mL in the laparoscopic adrenalectomy for a malignancy. There was no significant difference between laparoscopic adrenalectomy for malignant and benign tumors. Regarding the oncological outcome, seven of the nine patients, including the two palliative cases, treated with a laparoscopic adrenalectomy for a malignancy were alive at a median follow-up of 20 months. One patient died of other causes.

Conclusions:  Our results clearly indicate that a laparoscopic adrenalectomy for the treatment of a metastatic adrenal malignancy can be performed with an acceptable outcome as a minimally invasive method in carefully selected patients.