Skip to main content
  • Meeting abstract
  • Open access
  • Published:

The complications of laparoscopic adrenalectomy in older patients


Laparoscopic minimally invasive access has changed treatment of the adrenal lesions, becoming the gold standard for the treatment of secreting and non-secreting benign tumors, of rare lesions like cysts or myelolipomas, but remaining still controversial for malignant lesions. In relation to international literature data concerning complications linked to this approach, in particular with regards to over seventy-year-old patients, we have analysed our experience comparing the overall series with that of older patients.

Materials and methods

From March 1995 to October 2008, performing transabdominal laparoscopic adrenalectomy with flank-approach, we have treated 277 patients (162 women and 115 men) under seventy years old (A group), mean 47.2 (range 3–69) years; 127 right, 139 left and 11 bilateral lesions. Benign lesions have been 50 incidentalomas (with diameter greater than 4 cm), 88 Conns, 4 Cushings, 50 pheocromocitomas, 2 cysts, 3 angiomyolipomas, 3 adrenogenital syndromes, 1 echinococcosys, 1 ganglioneuroma, 1 oncocitaric adenoma, 1 solitary fibrous adrenal tumor, 1 Castleman's disease, 1 pigmented paraganglioma and 1 Kinsbourne syndrome. Malignant lesions have been 7 cortical carcinomas (all of these with pre-operative diagnosis of incidentalomas) and 7 metastases. In the same period we have treated 32 patients over seventy years old (B group), whereof 15 women and 17 men, 13 right, 18 left, 1 bilateral lesions, mean age 73.12 (range 70–81) years, in which we have found 6 incidentalomas, 6 Conns, 4 Cushings, 8 pheocromocitomas, 2 cysts, 1 angiomyolipomas, 1 cortical carcinoma and 4 metastasis.


We did not find any statistically significant difference between two groups concerning operative time (group A mean 80.49 [range 20–270] minutes vs group B mean 92.03 [range 45–240] minutes), postoperative stay (group A mean 3.68 [range 2–13] days vs group B mean 3.48 [range 2–9] days), morbidity (group A 3.97% [11/277] vs group B 6.25% [2/32]: 1 post operative myocardial infarction in a seventy years old man, 1 pancreatic pseudo-cyst in a seventy-three year old man), mortality (group A 0.36% [1/277] vs group B 0%), conversion rate (group A 1.08% [3/277] vs group B 3.12% [1/32]). We have rather found statistically significant difference concerning adrenal lesion's size: group A mean 3.9 (range 0.5–18) cm vs group B mean 4.78 (range 1–11) cm, p = 0.04. All the specimens were homogeneous in regard to anatomopathological characteristics.


In our experience we have confirmed the safety and feasibility of laparoscopic adrenalectomy even in old age population, with complication rate and death rate comparable to literature data (0.7–17%; 0–0.4%).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Giraudo, G., Festa, F., Visconti, D. et al. The complications of laparoscopic adrenalectomy in older patients. BMC Geriatr 9 (Suppl 1), A96 (2009).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: