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Diagnosis and Treatment |

The Incidentally Discovered Adrenal Mass

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Grant support: in part by U. S. Public Health Service training grant AM07028-08.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Paul M. Copeland, M.D.; Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston, MA 02114.

© 1983 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(6):940-945. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-98-6-940
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With the wider application of increasingly sensitive computed tomographic scans, more adrenal masses will be discovered incidentally. Because benign lesions of the adrenal are much commoner than malignant ones, an approach is needed to determine which incidentally discovered masses should be removed. The history and physical examination may guide the evaluation. Imaging studies and needle biopsies have limited value. If the history and physical findings do not suggest a diagnosis, an approach using the size of the mass, results of any cyst puncture, and a biochemical assessment may determine which patients should have surgery. This approach is based on the relative prevalences of benign and malignant clinically silent adrenal tumors.


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