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Endocrine Surgery

Incidentally Discovered Adrenal Masses

  • I had a CT scan for an unrelated reason and it showed I have a mass on one of my adrenal glands. What should I do?
    • Most incidentally discovered, small adrenal masses are benign.
    • However, appropriate workup (see below) is very important and should be evaluated by an endocrinologist and/or and endocrine surgeon.

  • What is the workup?
    • Workup includes a series of blood tests, sometimes urine tests, and imaging. There is no role for needle biopsy unless a tumor is strongly felt to be a metastatic lesion from another cancer.

  • Do I need surgery?
    • Surgery is generally reserved for tumors that are making hormones (determined by your lab tests), growing in size over time, larger (> 3-4cm), or have very suspicious radiologic characteristics.

  • What are the different types of adrenal tumors?


Please refer to the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons patient education website for more detailed information:

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University of Southern California
Upper G.I. and General Surgery

1450 San Pablo Street
Healthcare Consultation Center 4
Suite 6200
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Phone: (323) 865-3918
Fax: (323) 865-3539

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