CT appearance of adrenal cystic lymphangioma: Radiologic-pathologic correlation

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Objective. Cystic lymphangioma is an uncommon lesion in the adrenal gland. Because of the lesion's rarity, few descriptions of it can be found in the radiology literature. We therefore describe a series of these lesions with a focus on CT characteristics with correlation to gross and microscopic pathology features. Materials and Methods. Retrospective review identified seven patients with definitive pathologic findings of cystic lymphangioma of the adrenal gland and available diagnostic CT examinations. CT examinations were reviewed for key imaging features and correlated to gross and microscopic pathology. Lesions were generally described in corresponding reports as likely representing adenomas or hematomas based on CT findings. RESULTS. All cystic lymphangiomas included in this series were well-circumscribed lesions with low-attenuation internal contents and thin walls, without evidence of solid components or nodularity. No measurable contrast enhancement was seen in these lesions. Six of the seven lesions contained calcifications with one of two patterns: either thick, curvilinear, and dystrophic-appearing or thin and scattered. On gross and microscopic pathology, the lesions were composed of dilated cystic spaces containing serous fluid and lined by bland endothelial cells. CONCLUSION. Though rare, an adrenal cystic lymphangioma should be suspected on CT when a unilocular or multilocular, low-attenuation, nonenhancing lesion is present in the region of the adrenal gland, particularly if the lesion contains either of the above-noted calcification patterns. Recognition of these findings may allow more conservative treatment of selected patients harboring these lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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