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Pheochromocytoma is a rare but severe disease of the adrenal glands. The aim of this study is to present and discuss recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment of pheochromocytoma. A narrative review article based on the most recent literature is presented. The proportion of pheochromocytomas as tumors of adrenal origin is about 5% of incidentally discovered adrenal tumors. The classical symptomatic triad of headaches, sweating, and palpitations occurs in only about 20% of patients, while almost all patients show at least 1 of these symptoms. To diagnose pheochromocytoma, levels of free plasma metanephrines or alternatively, fractionated metanephrines in a 24‑h urine collection is required in a first step. In the second step an imaging procedure, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is performed to localize the adrenal tumor. Functional imaging is also recommended to preoperatively detect potential metastases. Genetic testing should always be offered during the course of treatment as 30-40% of pheochromocytomas are associated with genetic mutations. The dogma of preoperative alpha blockade is increasingly being questioned and has been controversially discussed in recent years. Minimally invasive removal of the adrenal tumor is the standard surgical procedure to cure patients with pheochromocytoma. The transabdominal and retroperitoneal laparoscopic approaches are considered equivalent. The choice of the minimally invasive procedure depends on the expertise and experience of the surgeon and should be tailored accordingly. Individualized and regular follow-up care is important after surgery. © 2023. The Author(s).


Nicolas Schlegel, Michael Meir, Joachim Reibetanz, Christian Markus, Armin Wiegering, Martin Fassnacht. Personalized treatment of pheochromocytoma]. Chirurgie (Heidelberg, Germany). 2024 Mar;95(3):200-206

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PMID: 37957403

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