• Anne M. J. B. Smets
  • Eline E. Deurloo
  • Jean-Nicolas Dacher
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


The adrenal glands are endocrine organs situated in the retroperitoneum on top of both kidneys. They are made up of cortex and medulla and develop in the early weeks of gestation. The adrenal cortex secretes a variety of steroid hormones; the medulla releases adrenaline and noradrenaline. Most congenital anomalies of the adrenal glands are rare, except for accessory adrenal gland tissue that can be found close to the parent gland or along the path of descent of the gonads. Haemorrhage, infection and tumoural pathology can affect the adrenals. In young children ultrasound is the imaging modality of choice to examine the adrenal glands. In older children when the adrenals are smaller, MRI becomes the preferred technique. Nuclear medicine studies, namely metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) play an important role in the management of tum oura I pathology. In this chapter embryology and anatomy, congenital and acquired pathology of the adrenal glands are described as well as the different techniques that are useful in the imaging strategy for adrenal pathology.


Adrenal Gland Inferior Vena Cava Computerise Tomography Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adrenal Mass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Berthe van Eck-Smit for her input on nuclear medicine studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne M. J. B. Smets
    • 1
  • Eline E. Deurloo
    • 1
  • Jean-Nicolas Dacher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital of RouenRouen CedexFrance

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