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World J Surg. 2008 May;32(5):897-903. doi: 10.1007/s00268-007-9438-z.

Laparoscopic adrenalectomy after prior abdominal surgery.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.



Compared with the open procedure, laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA) is associated with decreased operative time, perioperative complications, and hospital stay. Some regard prior abdominal surgery as a contraindication to LA or suggest a retroperitoneoscopic approach. We studied the effect of prior abdominal surgery on the feasibility and safety of transabdominal LA.


We retrospectively analyzed 246 consecutive LAs performed at four academic centers from 2002 to 2006. Cases were grouped according to prior abdominal surgery (PAS) (n=92, 37%) or no prior surgery (NPS) (n=154, 63%). Statistical power was greater than 0.90 to detect the following differences in endpoints: conversion 2%, operating time 22%, and complications 2%.


Mean tumor size was 3.3 cm, 8.1% of tumors were larger than 7 cm, and 20% were pheochromocytomas. Prior operations were upper abdominal (37%), lower abdominal (48%), or laparoscopic (15%). There were nine conversions (3.7%), one in the PAS group and eight in the NPS group (p=0.14), with conversions related to large tumor size and pheochromocytoma (both p<0.01). Operating time was 158+/-59 min across groups. The subgroup with prior upper abdominal surgery had nonsignificantly longer operating times compared with the NPS group (183 vs. 165 min, p=0.16). Operative blood loss was 67+/-84 ml and the perioperative complication rate was 12.2%, with no differences between groups.


Prior abdominal surgery does not impede transabdominal LA. More than one-third of patients requiring adrenalectomy will have had prior abdominal surgery, and these patients should not be denied the benefits of a laparoscopic procedure.

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