Frequency

The overall frequency of adrenal adenomas in 87,065 autopsies in 25 studies was 5.9% (range 1.1% to 32%).15 The frequency of adrenal masses discovered by CT, MRI, or ultrasonography is somewhat lower. Abecassis and associates16 in a 2-year period examined 1459 patients and found 63 (4.3%) with adrenal masses. Of those, 19 patients (1.3% of examined patients and 30% of patients with adrenal masses) had adrenalomas. At the Mayo Clinic,17 in a 5-year period, 61,054 patients underwent CT scanning. In 2066 patients (3.4%), an adrenal abnormality was found; among these, 259 patients (12.5%) had an adrenaloma or adrenal lesion larger than 1 cm, without biochemical evidence or symptoms suggestive of cortical or medullar hypersecretion or general constitutional symptoms suggestive of malignant disease. Similar findings have been described in more recent studies.18 20 Thus, in the era of widespread use of highresolution ultrasonography, new-generation CT scans, and MRI, we can anticipate a 5% incidence of adrenalomas.

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