The Hospital for Endocrine Surgery is one of the highest volume adrenal surgery centers in the world, and the highest volume in the US. We have an team of nurses, technicians, and adrenal surgeons who are expert in adrenal tumors and adrenal surgery. Together, they will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to assure you receive the quick, expert care you deserve.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Adrenal Gland Tumors
Adrenal gland tumors are fairly common, and when they occur they demand respect and a careful workup to determine if they are producing too much adrenal hormone that can cause severe disease.
Adrenal tumors can be either benign or malignant although the vast majority of adrenal tumors are benign (not cancer). The older we get, the more likely we are to develop an adrenal tumor. A 20-year-old only has about a 0.2% chance of having an adrenal tumor, whereas when we get to 70 years old, almost 7% have an adrenal tumor. The good news is that over 95% of adrenal tumors are benign.
Symptoms of Adrenal Tumors
Even though the overwhelming majority of adrenal tumors are benign (non-cancerous), many of them cause significant and often dramatic symptoms because they produce excess adrenal hormones. Adrenal tumors that produce hormones nearly always need to be removed because the excess hormones can cause toxic effects within your body, make you feel miserable and cause early death. Too much adrenal hormones such as aldosterone, cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline-type hormones; epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) can create very toxic effects on the body long term.
If some of this seems overwhelming, no worries. We do this every day and we will hold your hand through every aspect of your diagnosis and treatment.
Functional (hormone-producing) Adrenal Tumors
Adrenal tumors that produce hormones are called "functional" adrenal tumors. Unfortunately, hormone-producing adrenal tumors almost always produce too much of hormone and this excess hormone causes tremendous symptoms and illness. It is important to understand that most functional adrenal tumors are benign (non-cancerous). That means, if your adrenal tumor produces too much cortisol, aldosterone or adrenaline-type hormones (catecholamines) it is almost always benign.
Our adrenal surgeons operate on as many as 12 people per week with functional adrenal tumors. Most of these adrenal operations are performed via a mini-scope operations (Mini Back Scope Adrenalectomy) which typically takes our surgeons about 30 minutes and the patient has only a few small Band-Aids on their lower back.
Do Functional Adrenal Tumors Need to be Removed?
Yes, nearly all functional adrenal tumors need to be removed. Not primarily because of the concern for cancer, but because the damage caused to the body due to excess of these "toxic" hormones can be life-threatening. If you have a functional adrenal tumor, you need an adrenalectomy.
Adrenal Surgery: Some Better Than Others
Adrenal surgery can be performed many different ways. The specific adrenal surgical technique used will be dictated by the situation at hand. It is crucial that your adrenal surgeon is comfortable with all different techniques of adrenal surgery since a customized, individual approach will give the best possible outcome. Adrenal surgery should be tailor-made for you and your specific tumor.
The Mini-Back-Scope Adrenal Operation
Almost all adrenal tumors (>95%) can now be removed using minimally invasive techniques such as the Mini Back Scope Scope Adrenalectomy. This operation is also called "Posterior Retroperitoneoscopic Adrenalectomy".
There are many reasons the minimally invasive Mini-Back-Scope Adrenal operation is preferred over any of the other adrenal operations. It is performed with a scope (fiberoptic camera) via three small incisions in the lower part of the back of the patient. Since the adrenal glands are in the very back part of your abdomen, behind all the other organs, getting to them through the back with a small scope and fine endoscopic instruments makes total sense and has many tremendous benefits--but few surgeons know how to do it. It is not taught in surgical residency because no surgeons see enough cases of adrenal surgery to learn it. Our surgeons use this advanced operation on about 95% of our adrenal patients, and it typically takes about 30 minutes total time.
Our Expert Adrenal Surgeons
The Hospital for Endocrine Surgery performs more adrenal surgery than any other hospital in the US by a wide margin. Patients from all 50 states and many foreign countries travel to Tampa to have their adrenal surgery with our experts. We are conveniently located only 2.5 miles the Tampa International Airport. We will consult with you extensively prior to you making the trip to Tampa. Almost all patients only have to make one trip to Tampa--for the operation itself. Since there are no stitches to take out, you simply follow up with your endocrinologist a week after your operation. We will send all of your records, and even a photo of your tumor to your doctors.