The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Adrenal incidentaloma

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What is an adrenal incidentaloma?

Improvements in X-ray techniques have led to the discovery of an increasing number of clinically silent adrenal masses called adrenal incidentalomas. An adrenal incidentalomaAdrenal incidentaloma - an asymptomatic adrenal tumor that is discovered on an imaging test (CAT scan, MRI, etc) which was ordered to evaluate a problem that is unrelated to adrenal disease. is an asymptomatic adrenal tumor that is discovered on an imaging test (CAT scan, MRI, etc) which was ordered to evaluate a problem that is unrelated to adrenal disease. This definition does not include patients undergoing imaging procedures as a part of a workup or follow-up for cancer.18 Based on autopsy studies, adrenal masses are among the most common tumors in humans. At autopsy, an adrenal mass is found in at least 3% of people over age 50. By the age of 70, up to 7% of people may have an adrenal incidentaloma. Most adrenal masses cause no health problems. However, a small number of adrenal incidentalomas can cause serious disease.

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