Adrenal Surgery

You may be referred to see Mr Lee to discuss whether you need to have adrenal surgery.

Adrenal Surgery Specialist Melbourne

Adrenal Surgery


A/Prof. James Lee offers a comprehensive list of adrenal procedures for a variety of conditions. 

A/Prof. James Lee is highly experienced in all types of Adrenal surgery and endeavours to provide the highest quality care as well as the best results for each of his patients. 

What are the adrenal glands?

Adrenal glands are triangular shaped glands on top of your kidneys, typically 2 to 3 cm in size. Adrenal glands produce several hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline and noradrenaline which help control blood pressure, control your body’s response to stress, as well as some of the sex hormones. 


When is adrenal surgery required?

You might require adrenal surgery (adrenalectomy) if the following occurs:

  • There is a tumour (may or may not be cancer) of the gland detected incidentally on scans (adrenal incidentaloma).
  • There is a cancer of the adrenal gland
  • There is overproduction of hormones which causes syndromes such as:
    • Cushing’s Syndrome (excess secretion of cortisol) 
    • Conn’s Syndrome (excess secretion of aldosterone resulting in high blood pressure and blood potassium levels)
    • Phaeochromocytoma (excess secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline resulting in high blood pressure, excess sweating, tremor, and anxiety)

What to expect from Adrenal surgery

There are a couple of different approaches to adrenal surgery. Discuss with your surgeon which is suited to your case: 

  • Open surgery – traditionally, a large incision is needed to gain access to the adrenal glands which are located deep in the body. This approach is now reserved for patients with large tumours or cancers.
  • Laparoscopic surgery (posterior) – this keyhole approach through small incisions on the back allows for much faster recovery.
  • Laparoscopic surgery (anterior) – occasionally the keyhole incisions are made on the abdominal wall in the front.

This surgery is performed under general anaesthesia so you won’t be awake. You will be given assistance to prevent any nausea or bodily function intervention throughout the procedure. 

For laparoscopic surgery, 3 – 4 small incisions are made under your ribs either on the back or front of your body. For open surgery, one incision is made either in the midline or under the ribs. The surgery generally lasts for 2 – 4 hours.

If you have had keyhole surgery, within hours of your surgery, you should be able to walk around, eat, and drink normally. If you have open surgery, you may have to wait a bit longer to do all these things. For laparoscopic surgery, you may go home the morning after surgery, for open surgery, you may stay in the hospital for a few nights to properly recover. 

Adrenal surgery with A/Prof. James Lee

If you require any type of adrenal surgery, A/Prof. James Lee ensures to provide his patients with the most education and communication possible throughout the course of the journey. If you have any questions or concerns regarding adrenal surgery, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.


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All surgical procedures carry risks. Before proceeding, you should consult a surgeon with a FRACS qualification. For endocrine procedures, you should consult a member of ANZ Endocrine Surgeons.