Spectrum of CT Findings in Nonmalignant Disease of the Adrenal Gland

Akira Kawashima, Carl M. Sandler, Elliot K. Fishman, Chusilp Charnsangavej, Kotaro Yasumori, Hiroshi Honda, Randy D. Ernst, Naoki Takahashi, Bharat K. Raval, Kouji Masuda, Stanford M. Goldman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    98 Citations (Scopus)


    Computed tomography (CT) plays a leading role in the evaluation of nonmalignant disease of the adrenal gland. CT is highly accurate in the localization of adrenal masses in patients with diseases associated with hyperfunctioning adrenal glands such as Cushing syndrome and Cushing disease, Conn syndrome, adrenal tumors leading to virilization or feminization, and pheochromocytomas. CT permits a specific diagnosis of acute or subacute adrenal hematoma and myelolipoma. Hematomas are round to oval and have increased attenuation (50-90 HU) that decreases on follow-up CT scans. Myelolipomas typically manifest as a well-defined suprarenal mass with an attenuation of -30 to -115 HU. Adrenal cysts are usually round to oval and manifest as a hypoattenuating mass with a smooth, thin wall. CT is useful in the evaluation of patients with Addison disease, particularly the subacute form secondary to tuberculosis or disseminated histoplasmosis. Findings typically include bilateral adrenal enlargement with a central necrotic area of hypoattenuation and peripheral enhancement. Thin-section unenhanced CT permits accurate measurement of attenuation and can be used to differentiate adrenal adenoma from metastasis in a cancer patient with an indeterminate mass: Attenuation of 10 HU or less usually indicates adenoma rather than cancer. If the mass is found incidentally at contrast material-enhanced CT, delayed scans obtained as early as 5-15 minutes after intravenous administration of contrast material appear to have comparable accuracy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)393-412
    Number of pages20
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1998

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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