UCSF is one of just a few medical centers in California that offer posterior retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy (PRA), a minimally invasive procedure in which a patient's adrenal gland is removed through small incisions in the back. PRA may be an option for patients with certain noncancerous adrenal tumors or with growths that spread to the adrenal glands from cancers elsewhere in the body. UCSF surgeons were among the first in the U.S. to do this procedure and have now performed hundreds successfully.
Compared to the abdominal procedure typically used to treat these conditions, PRA is a shorter surgery, with less postoperative pain and a faster recovery. In this laparoscopic procedure, a surgeon makes a series of tiny incisions in the patient's back and uses a lighted camera and small surgical tools to reach and remove the adrenal gland. Patients lose less blood than with traditional surgery, don’t have to stay in the hospital as long and usually can return to normal activities sooner. PRA also has fewer possible complications than a conventional adrenalectomy (adrenal gland removal).