The adrenal gland is involved by a range of neoplasms, including primary and metastatic malignant tumors; however, the most common tumor detected is the incidental benign adenoma. Although computed tomographic (CT) findings will not always yield a definitive diagnosis, attention to these findings provides a road map to guide image interpretation. Adenomas typically demonstrate rapid washout, which is defined as an absolute percentage washout (APW) of more than 60% and a relative percentage washout (RPW) of more than 40% on delayed images. Adrenocortical carcinoma typically has an RPW of less than 40%; however, large size and heterogeneity are more reliable indicators of the diagnosis than are washout values. Washout characterissics of pheochromocytoma are variable; in conjunction with high levels of dynamic enhancement, pheochromocytomas may mimic adenoma (ie, APW > 60%, RPW > 40%). Myelolipomas appear as well-defined masses with variable quantities of fat and soft tissue. After contrast material administration, metastases usually demonstrate slower washout on delayed images (APW < 60%, RPW < 40%) than do adenomas, although hypervascular metastases may enhance similarly to pheochromocytoma. Finally, a number of nonadrenal pathologic conditions have been reported to mimic adrenal masses at CT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging