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Robotic Adrenalectomy

Experience and Excellence in Robotic Adrenal Surgery

Dr. John Abikhaled is an exceptionally skilled surgeon based in Austin, Texas, specializing in robotic adrenal surgery. He is dedicated to offering the most cutting-edge and minimally invasive techniques designed to expedite your recovery and get you back to your daily life. Dr. Abikhaled's wealth of experience allows him to customize his approach to suit your individual needs, ensuring that you receive the highest quality of care.

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Common Questions about the Adrenal Glands

What are the Adrenal Glands?

Adrenal glands are small organs sitting above your kidneys and make hormones that affect many body functions. Each adrenal has an inner core (the medulla) and an outer rim (the cortex). The medulla produces catecholamines, commonly known as adrenaline. The cortex produces three types of hormones: aldosterone, cortisol, and sex hormones.

These hormones are responsible for many vital functions such as blood pressure control, regulation of metabolism and stress response, fluid and electrolyte balance, blood sugar balance, immune function, and sex characteristics, among others.

Sometimes a growth or tumor can develop on an adrenal gland and you may need surgery to remove that gland.  Surgery may be needed if you have a benign adrenal tumor that is producing excessive hormone or if you have a tumor that is suspected to be cancerous.

When is Adrenal Gland Surgery Necessary?

  • Adrenal Nodules: Removal of an adrenal gland may be necessary if contains a nodule. These nodules can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The decision to perform adrenalectomy depends on factors such as nodule size, nodule type, and whether it is causing symptoms or hormonal imbalances.

  • Hormonal Disorders: Adrenalectomy may be considered for patients with hormone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands, such as pheochromocytomas (secreting adrenaline and noradrenaline), aldosterone producing tumors, cortisol producing tumors (causing Cushing's syndrome), or androgen producing tumors.

  • The decision to perform an adrenalectomy requires a careful evaluation by your endocrinologist and your surgeon to determine the most appropriate course of action based on your specific condition.

Adrenal Gland Evaluation

Blood and Urine Tests

These tests measure the levels of different hormones in your blood and urine. They can show if your adrenal tumor is making too much or too little hormone.

CT and MRI Scans

These are imaging tests that help us see the structure of your adrenal glands. They can show their size, shape, location, and whether there is a growth on either one. They may also show features that suggest if a tumor is cancerous.


This is a nuclear scan that uses a small amount of radioactive material to see how your adrenal glands work. This test can help diagnose a type of adrenal tumor called pheochromocytoma, which makes too much adrenaline.

Adrenal Vein Sampling

In this procedure, blood is taken from the veins that drain blood from your adrenal glands. The samples are tested for hormone levels. This can show which adrenal gland is overactive and can help plan your surgery.


Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. It provides clear vision of the area of surgery and agile instruments for performing a delicate operation.  The surgery is performed under general anesthesia.


Small key-hole incisions are made on the abdomen for the camera and instruments.  Dr. Abikhaled separates the adrenal gland from the surrounding tissues and removes it through one of the incisions. Robotic adrenalectomy has several benefits compared to traditional surgery. These benefits include:

  • Less pain and bleeding

  • Smaller scars and lower risk of infection

  • Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery

  • Less risk of injury to nearby organs

Recovery from Robotic Adrenalectomy

After surgery, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will be monitored until you wake up from anesthesia. You may be able to go home the same day or stay in the hospital for one night.


  • You should get up and walk soon after surgery, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity until cleared by the surgeon.


  • Your incision will be sealed with skin glue, which will peel off after a couple weeks. The sutures are buried under the skin and will dissolve. There will be no bandage to change.


  • You can usual take a normal diet soon after surgery.


  • You may shower beginning the day after surgery. You should not immerse the incision under water for 2 weeks.

  • You should apply ice packs to your incision for 20 or 30 minutes at a time, several times the day of surgery and for 2 days after surgery. This keeps the swelling and soreness down.

  • You may only need over the counter pain meds like Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (ibuprofen). You can take two regular strength Tylenols (325 mg each) and two Advils (200 mg each) together about every 8 hours.  

  • A prescription pain medication is usually also prescribed, but most people need little or none.

Follow-up After Surgery

  • We will want you to follow up about 2 weeks after surgery, and you should also schedule a follow up with your endocrinologist.

  • Hormone replacement medications may be prescribed following adrenalectomy, and you may need additional treatment if you have cancer or other conditions.

Risks of Adrenalectomy

  • Robotic adrenalectomy has risks similar to other major surgeries, such as bleeding, infection, and reaction to anesthesia. Other possible risks include:

  • Injury to nearby organs or blood vessels

  • Blood clots or pneumonia

  • Changes in blood pressure or blood sugar levels

  • Hormone imbalance or deficiency

  • The need for open surgery


You should call the office if you experience increasing swelling at the incision site (some swelling is expected), severe pain, bleeding, signs of infection, a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.


As far as getting surgery goes, Dr. Abikhaled is great! He came highly recommended from my endocrinologist and performed a laparoscopic adrenalectomy last month.
Everything from consult to post-op was thorough and professional. He's got a great bedside manner, communicated well throughout surgery with my other doctors, and had absolutely no qualms about answering all of my pesky questions.
The hospital wouldn't let me keep the tumor (bummer), but Dr. Abikhaled was kind enough to take and print photos of the procedure as a keepsake, and he went through and explained what everything was and how the procedure went. I really enjoyed getting to meet him. Thank you!



Dr. John Abikhaled is a compassionate, board-certified endocrine surgeon located in Austin, Texas. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of adrenal disorders and has extensive experience in performing robotic adrenal surgery with excellent outcomes. He’s dedicated to providing empathetic, individualized care, ensuring that his patients receive the best treatment possible.

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