Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Laparoscopic and open surgery for pheochromocytoma

Bjørn Edwin12, Airazat M Kazaryan14*, Tom Mala12, Per F Pfeffer2, Tor Inge Tønnessen13 and Erik Fosse1

Author Affiliations

1 The Interventional Center, Rikshospitalet, University of Oslo, N-0027, Oslo, Norway

2 The Surgical Department, Rikshospitalet, University of Oslo, N-0027, Oslo, Norway

3 The Department of Anesthesiology, Rikshospitalet, University of Oslo, N-0027, Oslo, Norway

4 Department of surgery, IM. Sechennov Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow, Russia

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BMC Surgery 2001, 1:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-1-2

Published: 21 August 2001



Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is a promising alternative to open surgery although concerns exist in regard to laparoscopic treatment of pheocromocytoma. This report compares the outcome of laparoscopic and conventional (open) resection for pheocromocytoma particular in regard to intraoperative hemodynamic stability and postoperative patient comfort.


Seven patients laparoscopically treated (1997–2000) and nine patients treated by open resection (1990–1996) at the National Hospital (Rikshospitalet), Oslo. Peroperative hemodynamic stability including need of vasoactive drugs was studied. Postoperative analgesic medication, complications and hospital stay were recorded.


No laparoscopic resections were converted to open procedure. Patients laparoscopically treated had fewer hypertensive episodes (median 1 vs. 2) and less need of vasoactive drugs peroperatively than patients conventionally operated. There was no difference in operative time between the two groups (median 110 min vs. 125 min for adrenal pheochromocytoma and 235 vs. 210 min for paraganglioma). Postoperative need of analgesic medication (1 vs. 9 patients) and hospital stay (median 3 vs. 6 days) were significantly reduced in patients laparoscopically operated compared to patients treated by the open technique.


Surgery for pheochromocytoma can be performed laparoscopically with a safety comparable to open resection. However, improved hemodynamic stability peroperatively and less need of postoperative analgesics favour the laparoscopic approach. In experienced hands the laparoscopic technique is concluded to be the method of choice also for pheocromocytoma.