Surgical management of pheochromocytoma

Fu SQ, Wang SY, Chen Q, Liu YT, Li ZL, Sun T. Laparoscopic versus open surgery for pheochromocytoma: a meta-analysis. BMC Surg. 2020 Jul 25;20(1):167.

Results: Fourteen studies involving 626 patients were included in this meta-analysis. LS was associated with lower rates of intraoperative haemodynamic instability (IHD) [odds ratio (OR) = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.37 to 1.00, P = 0.05], less intraoperative blood loss [weighted mean difference (WMD) = – 115.27 ml, 95% confidence interval (CI): – 128.54 to – 101.99, P < 0.00001], lower blood transfusion rates [OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.52, P < 0.00001], earlier ambulation (WMD = – 1.57 d, 95% CI: – 1.97 to – 1.16, P < 0.00001) and food intake (WMD = – 0.98 d, 95% CI: – 1.36 to – 0.59, P < 0.00001), shorter drainage tube indwelling time (WMD = – 0.51 d, 95% CI: – 0.96 to – 0.07, P = 0.02) and postoperative stay (WMD = – 3.17 d, 95% CI: – 4.76 to – 1.58, P < 0.0001), and lower overall complication rates (OR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.88, P = 0.01). However, no significant differences in operative time, postoperative blood pressure control, rates of severe complications, postoperative hypotension or cardiovascular disease (CVD) were found between the two groups.

Conclusions: LS is safe and effective for PHEO resection. Compared with OS, LS caused less IHD, providing an equal chance to cure hypertension while also yielding a faster and better postoperative recovery.


Buitenwerf E, Osinga TE, Timmers HJLM, et al. Efficacy of α-Blockers on Hemodynamic Control during Pheochromocytoma Resection: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jul 1;105(7):2381–91.

Results: Median cumulative time outside blood pressure targets was 11.1% (interquartile range [IQR]: 4.3-20.6] in the phenoxybenzamine group compared to 12.2% (5.3-20.2)] in the doxazosin group (P = .75, r = 0.03). The hemodynamic instability score was 38.0 (28.8-58.0) and 50.0 (35.3-63.8) in the phenoxybenzamine and doxazosin group, respectively (P = .02, r = 0.20). The 30-day cardiovascular complication rate was 8.8% and 6.9% in the phenoxybenzamine and doxazosin group, respectively (P = .68). There was no mortality after 30 days.

Conclusions: The duration of blood pressure outside the target range during resection of a PPGL was not different after preoperative treatment with either phenoxybenzamine or doxazosin. Phenoxybenzamine was more effective in preventing intraoperative hemodynamic instability, but it could not be established whether this was associated with a better clinical outcome.


Patel D. Surgical approach to patients with pheochromocytoma. Gland Surg. 2020 Feb;9(1):32-42. doi: 10.21037/gs.2019.10.20.

Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that secrete excess catecholamines leading to secondary hypertension and cardiovascular morbidity. Once biochemical testing with either 24-hour urinary fractioned metanephrines or plasma free metanephrines confirms the diagnosis, patients are optimized with adequate hydration to maintain their intravascular volume and the appropriate antihypertensive medications are initiated for optimal blood pressure control. Genetic testing and imaging is performed to determine the extent of adrenalectomy and the optimal surgical approach. Surgical approaches include transabdominal or retroperitoneal minimally invasive approaches, and transabdominal open approaches. Factors that influence the surgical approach include germline genetic test results, the size of the tumor, body mass index, surgeon experience, and the likelihood of malignancy. The extent of adrenalectomy is based on germline genetic findings. Patients with syndromes such as von Hippel Lindau (VHL) or multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 (MEN 2) benefit from cortical-sparing adrenalectomy to avoid chronic steroid replacement and the risk of Addisonian crisis. Postoperative management includes hemodynamic monitoring and assessment for signs of hypoglycemia. Outcomes after surgery show improved blood pressure control in most patients and normalization of blood pressure in about a third of patients. Long-term follow-up is required for all patients to assess for recurrence.


More PubMed results on pheochromocytomas.

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