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What are possible complications of adrenal gland surgery?

Overall, complications rates are significantly higher in open surgery compared to laparoscopic procedures. In open surgery, lung problems are the most common complications occurring in approximately 6% of patients. These include pneumonia and atelectasis (collapse of the spaces in the lungs that transfer oxygen to the blood). Wound infection occurs in approximately 3%. The risk of wound infection and/or problems with healing is higher in patients with Cushing's syndrome. Post-operative bleeding is a rare potential complication of surgery. The risk of requiring a blood transfusion is higher with open than laparoscopic surgery. Any surgery in the abdomen may result in an ileus (a condition in which the intestines are asleep and do not work normally for a period of time) which will get better in a few days to a few weeks. Any operation in the abdomen will cause adhesions (scar tissue) to form and may cause an intestinal blockage in the future. This blockage may occur shortly after surgery or many years down the road. Finally, adrenalectomy as with other surgeries may result in blood clots forming in the veins of the legs which may break off and travel to the lungs. A number of things can be done to reduce this risk including injections of a mild blood thinner (most commonly heparin) and wearing stockings that periodically squeeze the legs. The risk of these blood clots is higher in patients with tumors that produce an excess of cortisol and those with cancer. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.