Treatinga phaeochromocytoma

Most people with a phaeochromocytoma will have it surgically removed.

You'll usually be given medication called alpha blockers for several weeks before the operation to block the effects of the excess hormones on your body and stabilise your blood pressure and pulse ready for surgery.

You may also be given a medication called beta blockers if your doctor thinks it necessary.

The operation is carried out under general anaesthetic (where you are asleep) and may be done as:

  • laparoscopic ('keyhole') surgery where a number of small incisions (cuts) are made and fine instruments are passed through these to remove the tumour; this is the most common type of surgery for phaeochromocytomas
  • open surgery where a single, larger incision is made in the skin to access and remove the tumour

The incisions will usually be made in your abdomen.

Your doctor will discuss the best type of operation for you and explain the procedure to you in detail, including the risks, and will answer any questions you have.

Ifyour phaeochromocytoma iscancerous, you may also need chemotherapy or radiotherapy in addition tosurgery.

If your tumour cannot be removed, you will need medication to manage your condition usually a combination of medicines to control the effects of the excessive hormones.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018