Adrenal tumors (Adrenocortical carcinoma, Pheochromocytoma, functional and nonfunctional adrenal adenomas):
Lesions of the adrenal gland include benign adenoma, pheochromocytoma, and adrenocortical carcinoma. Benign adenoma, the most common lesion seen in the adrenal gland, can be functional or non-functional. Functional adrenal adenoma refers to an area in the adrenal gland that secretes an adrenal hormone at abnormally high levels. In the case of over-secretion of aldosterone, Conn’s syndrome develops. Cushing’s syndrome is the result of excess cortisol production from a functional adrenal adenoma. Many adrenal adenomas require no treatment. However, functional adenomas and those that demonstrate growth or are greater than 3cm in size may require surgical removal.
Pheochromocytoma is a relatively rare tumor of the adrenal gland that is the cause of a form of correctable hypertension due to the secretion of hormones called metanephrines. Some of these lesions are malignant; however, all require surgical removal.
Adrenocortical carcinoma is a cancer of the adrenal cortex. These tumors are rare and can secrete a number of different hormones. These tumors likewise must be surgically removed. Surgery for most adrenal tumors can often be performed through a robotic approach. See Robotic Adrenalectomy for more information.