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Had abdominal CT scan for colon, which revealed adrenal tumors. Do they require surgery?

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Posted on Tue, 8 Oct 2013
Question: In August I had an abdominal/pelvic CT scan for colon issue- non cancerous polyps removed. The CT scan revealed 2 adrenal tumors (~ 1 cm @) on my left adrenal gland. About what % of the time do these require surgery? Do they grow over time? I’ve recently been getting awakened at night with strong thirst/ symptoms of dehydration having to drink/eat something. A recent blood test said my sugar levels are normal. Thank you.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Minal Mohit (11 hours later)
Brief Answer:
These are known as incidentalomas.

Detailed Answer:
Dear XXXXX, Hi, I am sure you must be having some other name and this is just your online id. As you have undergone whole abdomen CT for colon polyps and incidentally found adrenal masses ~1 cm , non functional, they are known as incidentalomas. You need not worry about them or undergo any surgery for them. these will not interfere with your daily functioning or quality of life.
a little work up is advised to rule out any problem i.e. Serum cortisol , fasting state, between 8am - 9 am., serum ACTH, serum electrolytes, and you can keep a follow up.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Minal Mohit (9 hours later)
Thank you for the reply, but what about getting awakened at night with strong thirst/ symptoms of dehydration having to drink/eat something?

This is happening EVERY night after about 4-4.5 hours and I cannot fall back to sleep afterwards...this makes me have fatigue during the day, has disrupted my thought patterns and generally has deteriorated my quality of life.

If the adrenalectomy is not truly necessary can this symptom be managed in another way? I've had a friend recommend medical cannibus. Please advise. Thanks again!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Minal Mohit (17 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Need detailed evaluation.

Detailed Answer:
Dear Sir, as you earlier said there were no symptoms and you incidentally found those adrenal tumors, I called them incidentalomas. As all your symptoms appeared after your incidental finding of these tumors, I am sorry, I took it to be more functional than organic. But if you had such paroxysm previously as well and they are really troubling you then these adrenal masses may not be incidentalomas. They may be anything like phaeochromocytomas or adrenal adenomas which may be functional. you need to get your Blood Pressure monitored, 24 hour urinary free cortisol, serum cortisol, Urinary metanephrines, Urinary VMA, serum electrolytes, and may be even MIBG scan to rule out any of the above mentioned conditions. If any one of them is diagnosed then surgery is the only answer. Regards and all the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Dr. Minal Mohit

Endocrinologist

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 837 Questions

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Had abdominal CT scan for colon, which revealed adrenal tumors. Do they require surgery?

Brief Answer:
These are known as incidentalomas.

Detailed Answer:
Dear XXXXX, Hi, I am sure you must be having some other name and this is just your online id. As you have undergone whole abdomen CT for colon polyps and incidentally found adrenal masses ~1 cm , non functional, they are known as incidentalomas. You need not worry about them or undergo any surgery for them. these will not interfere with your daily functioning or quality of life.
a little work up is advised to rule out any problem i.e. Serum cortisol , fasting state, between 8am - 9 am., serum ACTH, serum electrolytes, and you can keep a follow up.