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Cysts of the adrenal gland: Diagnosis and management

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Cysts of the adrenal gland are rare, but with the wider application of sonography and computed tomography more adrenal cysts are detected incidentally. To gain more insight into this entity, five such cases are reported and their diagnostic approach and management are discussed.

Patients and methods

The records of five patients with six cysts of the adrenal glands seen at our department from 1987 till 1995 are reviewed. There were four males and one female and their age ranged from 24 to 72 years, with a mean age of 43 years. One patient had a primary hydatid cyst of the right adrenal gland, which was preoperatively thought to arise from the liver or the right kidney. A second patient had a very large pseudocyst of the left adrenal gland, which is the largest ever reported in the literature. The other four cysts in three patients were found incidentally during sonography or computed tomography.


The hydatid cyst with a rim of normal adrenal tissue was excised. The large pseudocyst was removed together with the adrenal gland. In the cases of the incidentally found cysts, observation of the patient with regular follow-up was decided upon. All patients are in good condition and without symptoms 2 to 10 years after the initial diagnosis.


Adrenal cysts are rare and their diagnosis may pose problems. Symptomatic adrenal cysts should be operated, but small, asymptomatic, non-functional cysts with benign characteristics may be treated conservatively with regular follow-up by sonography or computed tomography and hormonal evaluation.

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de Bree, E., Schoretsanitis, G., Melissas, J. et al. Cysts of the adrenal gland: Diagnosis and management. International Urology and Nephrology 30, 369–376 (1998).

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