Bilateral adrenalectomy (BADX) is an important treatment option for patients with Cushing's syndrome (CS). Our aim is to analyze the long-term outcomes, surgical, biochemical, and clinical as well as morbidity and mortality, of patients who underwent BADX.
A total of 50 patients who underwent BADX since 1990 in two German centers were identified. Of them, 34 patients had Cushing's disease (CD), nine ectopic CS (ECS), and seven ACTH-independent bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH).
Standardized follow-up examination was performed in 36 patients with a minimum follow-up time of 6 months after BADX and a median follow-up time of 11 years.
Surgical morbidity and mortality were 6 and 4% respectively. All patients were found to be in remission after BADX. Almost all Cushing's-specific comorbidities except for psychiatric diseases improved significantly. Health-related quality of life remained impaired in 45.0% of female and 16.7% of male patients compared with a healthy population. The median number of adrenal crises per 100 patient-years was four. Nelson tumor occurred in 24% of CD patients after a median time span of 51 months. Long-term mortality after 10 years was high in ECS (44%) compared with CD (3%) and BAH (14%).
BADX is an effective and relatively safe treatment option especially in patients with CD. The majority of patients experience considerable improvement of Cushing's symptoms.