Incidentalomas are tumors in the adrenal gland incidentally found by an imaging study performed for some other reason. Many of these tumors do not require any surgery or treatment, but once discovered need to be carefully evaluated to determine the most appropriate management.

Evaluation of these tumors involves several components:

  1. Investigation of whether the tumor is secreting excessive amounts of a particular hormone. This is done by measuring hormone levels in blood and/or urine (cathecholamines, cortisol, aldosterone).
  2. Assessment of whether the tumor has a malignant (cancerous) appearance or not. Imaging studies such as CT scans and MRIs help make this determination by assessing tumor size (larger tumors are more likely cancerous) and other imaging characteristics that are worrisome for cancer.
  3. Determination of whether it is a metastatic lesion (cancer that originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the adrenal glands). This is done by evaluating prior medical history.

Further workup and management will depend on the results obtained on 1, 2 and 3.

Adrenal Tumor

This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.