Adrenal imaging: anatomy and pathology (literature review)

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Probl Endokrinol (Mosk). 2021 Jun 7;67(3):26-36. doi: 10.14341/probl12752.


This literature review focuses on the normal adrenal gland anatomy and typical imaging features necessary to evaluate benign and malignant lesions. In particular, adenoma, pheochromocytoma, metastases and adrenocortical carcinoma were discussed as some of the most common lesions. For this purpose, a review of relevant local and international literature sources up to January 2021 was conducted.In many cases, adrenal incidentalomas have distinctive features allowing characterization using noninvasive methods. It is possible to suspect a malignant nature and promptly refer the patient for the necessary invasive examinations in some cases. -Computed tomography, especially with intravenous contrast enhancement, is the primary imaging modality because it enables differential diagnosis. Magnetic resonance tomography remains a sensitive method in lesion detection and follow-up but is not very specific for determining the malignant potential. Positron emission computed tomography also remains an additional method and is used mainly for differential diagnosis of malignant tumors, detecting metastases and recurrences after surgical treatment. Ultrasound has a limited role but is nevertheless of great importance in the pediatric population, especially newborns. Promising techniques such as radiomics and dual-energy CT can expand imaging capabilities and improve diagnostic accuracy.Because adrenal lesions are often incidentally detected by imaging performed for other reasons, it is vital to interpret such findings correctly. This review should give the reader a broad overview of how different imaging modalities can evaluate adrenal pathology and guide radiologists and clinicians.

PMID:34297499 | DOI:10.14341/probl12752