A laparoscopic adrenalectomy is surgery to take out the adrenal gland. This is done three ways. 

  1. A laparoscopic approach through 3 to 5 small incisions. 

  2. A laparoscopic hand-assist approach through small incisions and one larger incision. 

  3. An open approach which is one larger incision.

Before Surgery

You will need to complete a bowel prep. A few days before your bowel prep, go to your local drugstore. Buy 1 bottle of magnesium citrate (10 oz). Store it in the fridge until you need to drink it. It is better to drink it cold.

The Day Before Surgery

Eat a light breakfast and lunch, avoid greasy foods and red meat.

After lunch, do not eat solid food, or drink juice with pulp, dairy products or alcohol.

Drink only clear liquids up to midnight (no limit on amount).

  • Water

  • Broth

  • Juice (no pulp)

  • Popsicles

  • Hard candy, no chocolate

  • Clear Jell-O®, homemade, no fruit

  • Sparkling water or soda

  • Weak coffee or tea, no creamer

  • Gatorade® or other sport drink

  • Boost Breeze® or Resource®

_____ At 2:00 pm drink magnesium citrate 10 oz. (1 entire bottle, any flavor). Drink 1 liter of a sport drink before midnight (Gatorade®). After this, you may drink as much clear liquid as you wish until midnight.

Shower before bed with Hibiclens soap. 

Do not eat or drink after midnight.

The day of surgery shower with the Hibiclens soap before you leave for the hospital. 

After Surgery

  • You may have some pain for 2-4 weeks. We will order pain pills for you. Take these pills as prescribed.

  • You will be walking soon after your surgery. This helps you heal. The pain pills will make it easier for you to move around. 

  • You will be in the hospital 2-4 days.

  • You will need to have a family member or friend pick you up by 10:00 am on the day you are discharged. 

  • Expect to get back to your normal routine in 10-12 days. 


  • Do not lift more than 20 pounds for 4 weeks. 

  • Nothing strenuous such as jogging, aerobics, or swimming for 4 weeks after surgery.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid per day (no alcohol).

  • You may shower. Do not soak in a hot tub, bath tub, or swim until your incisions are healed, at least 2 weeks. You may wear Band-Aids® if your incisions are in a skin fold, your clothes rub on them, or they are draining. Change them at least daily and more often if they get wet or soiled.

  • You may resume sex after 2 weeks.

  • Do not drive for 2 weeks.

  • The time you need to be off work depends on the type of work you do and how you are healing. Check with your surgeon before going back to work.

  • Take all your medicines as prescribed. 


Your first follow-up visit will be made for you before you leave the hospital.

When to Call 

  • Shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911

  • Increasing redness, warmth, or swelling of an incision

  • Pus-like drainage from the incision or drain site

  • Fever over 100.4° F for two readings taken 4 hours apart

  • Decreased urine output

  • Bloody urine

  • Racing heart rate

  • New severe headache

Who to Call

Urology Clinic: (608) 263-4757

UW Health East Madison Hospital Urology: (608)-440-6464

Nights, weekends and holidays this will connect you to the paging operator. Ask for the urology doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back. The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.

Your urology doctor is ________________.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.