Most adrenal tumors are found incidentally and appear as small solitary nodules on abdominal imaging. Occasionally, work-up demonstrates multifocal or bilateral adrenal tumors. Certain patients are predisposed to multiple lesions, such as those with hereditary forms of pheochromocytoma as seen in von Hippel-Lindau disease, multiple endocrine neoplasia type II, and von Recklinghausen's disease. Partial rather than total adrenalectomy should be considered for these patients in an attempt to preserve endogenous adrenocortical function. Partial adrenalectomy has also been used to resect other types of adrenal tumors, especially in patients with a solitary adrenal gland. A discussion of the indications for partial adrenalectomy and of the surgical technique follows.
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