Adrenalectomies are performed by general or endocrine surgeons. Surgeons work closely with their medical colleagues (endocrinologists) who are often the doctors who are responsible for both the initial diagnosis and investigation of endocrine disorders. Endocrinologists may also be involved in long-term follow-up care after the adrenalectomy. Endocrine surgeons also work with nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, and anesthetists to provide the best possible patient care.
Untreated, adrenal insufficiency is fatal, and indeed this was invariably the case until the advent of synthetic cortisone in 1949. Treatment of Addison's disease is lifelong. The prognosis for any patient with adrenal insufficiency will depend on the underlying cause. In those patients in whom the prognosis is not affected by the underlying pathology, replacement therapy should result in a return to health. However, a Norwegian study found an excess of mortality in patients diagnosed with Addison's disease at a young age, associated with acute adrenal failure, infection and sudden death. [ 16 ]