There are two adrenal glands in the body, a right and left, which are situated just above the kidneys, deep in the abdomen (belly). The right adrenal gland, in addition to being near the kidney, is next to the liver and the largest vein in the abdomen (called the inferior vena cava). The left adrenal gland is close to the spleen and pancreas, as well as the kidney.
The adrenals are very important glands that produce several different hormones that control many different processes in the body.
Removing one adrenal gland does not lead to any effects, as the other gland can make enough hormones for the body’s needs. If both adrenal glands are removed, however, then steroid tablets will need to be taken for life to replace the main hormone that the adrenals produce.
The two main problems that may develop in the adrenal glands that require surgery are if too much hormone is being produced, or if a mass (lump) develops within the gland. These conditions are outlined in the following sections.