Background: For the past 14 years, we have been performing laparoscopic adrenalectomy via the lateral transabdominal as well as the posterior retroperitoneal approach. The aim of this study is to describe patient selection criteria for each approach with comparison of perioperative outcomes. Methods: In patients with smaller tumors, low body mass index (BMI), history of previous abdominal operations, appropriate body habitus, and bilateral pathology, we have performed preferentially the posterior approach. Data regarding clinical pathology, tumor size, BMI, estimated blood loss (EBL), operating time (OT), morbidity, mortality, and duration of stay were analyzed retrospectively. Data are expressed as mean ± standard error of the mean (SEM). Results: One hundred seventy-two laparoscopic adrenalectomy procedures were performed in 159 patients between 1994 and 2008. The lateral approach was used in 69 patients (right side: 39%, left side: 55%, bilateral: 6%) and the posterior approach in 90 patients (right side: 42%, left side: 48%, bilateral: 10%). The incidence of prior abdominal surgery was greater in the posterior group (26% vs 19%, NS). The lateral approach was used in 9% (3/34) of aldosteronoma, 38% (9/24) of Cushing's disease/syndrome, 47% (18/38) of nonsecreting cortical adenoma, 66% (23/35) of pheochromocytoma, 41% (7/17) of malignant lesions, and 73% (8/11) of others. Thirty percent of the bilateral adrenalectomies were performed via lateral and 70% via posterior approach. Two patients in the posterior approach were converted to the laparoscopic lateral approach, and 2 patients in the lateral approach were converted to open. Overall, patient age and sex were similar between groups. BMI was higher in patients undergoing adrenalectomy via lateral vs posterior approach (32.4 vs 28.4; P = .005). Tumor size was larger than 6 cm in 11 (16%) and 1 (1%) of the patients in the lateral and posterior groups, respectively. On univariate analysis, mean OT for lateral and posterior approaches was similar for unilateral cases (157 ± 7 vs 138 ± 6 min, respectively; P = NS). This was also true on multivariate analysis when corrected for patient selection factors. EBL was 35 ± 7 mL for lateral versus 25 ± 6 mL for posterior approach (P = .05). The duration of stay in lateral and posterior approaches was 1 day in 56% vs 82%, 2 days in 29% vs 13%, and more than 2 days in 15% vs 5% of the patients, respectively. Two patients in the lateral group died postoperatively because of cardiac and pulmonary causes, and 2 patients in the posterior group developed temporary neuralgia. Conclusion: This series compares 2 different approaches for laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Our study shows that the lateral and posterior techniques have a similar peri-operative outcome when patients are selected for each option based on certain criteria.
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