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How is Pheochromocytoma Treated?

Controlling high blood pressure with drugs is the first step. Once your blood pressure is stable, surgery may be used to treat the problem.

The diseased adrenal gland could be removed with laparoscopic, robotic or open surgery. Most often, the whole adrenal gland is removed. For a smaller tumor, especially in hereditary cases, only the diseased part of the gland is removed. The healthy part of the gland remains.

Before surgery, drugs are often given to block the effects of hormones and help blood pressure. Other symptoms may also be controlled before the tumor is removed.

Laparoscopy and robotic surgery are less invasive procedures. Anesthesia is used. The hospital stay is 1 to 2 days if blood pressure is well controlled. Most people can return to normal activity after about 2 weeks.

Open surgery, or traditional laparotomy, is more involved. It requires 5 to 7 days in the hospital and a 4-week recovery period.

It’s important to know that adrenal surgery is complex. It helps to choose a surgeon who has significant experience with surgery in the area around the kidneys and adrenal glands. Talk with a few surgeons before you choose one to work with.