Adrenal Gland Nodules

Adrenal Gland Nodules 

Adrenal Gland Nodules 


There are two adrenal glands, and these sit on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help salt balance, and in times of stress.

Adrenal nodules are abnormal growths that form in the adrenal gland. Most of the time, these are benign and non-functioning.


Most of the time, adrenal gland nodule formation is sporadic. Less commonly, hereditary conditions, such as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome (MEN Types 1 and 2), Von Hippel-Lindau disease and neurofibromatosis Type 1, may increase your risk.

Obesity and smoking also increase a person’s risk of developing an adrenal nodule.

Tumours arising from the adrenal gland fall into one of three groups:

Functioning (phaeochromocytoma, Conn syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome).

Malignant (adrenocortical carcinoma, metastatic cancer).

Benign, non-functional tumours (adenomas, myelolipomas, cysts, ganglioneuromas).


In most cases, adrenal gland nodules do not produce symptoms, meaning the nodules are not disruptive to body systems and are only detected when scans are performed for other reasons (so-called ‘incidentalomas’).

If the adrenal nodule is functional (producing hormones such as aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, or noradrenaline), this can impact the function of various body systems. Increases or decreases of these hormones can cause changes in weight, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, easy bruising, excessive sweating, excessive hair growth, osteoporosis, fatigue, and other symptoms.


To determine if an adrenal nodule is functioning, non-functioning, benign or malignant, Dr Moar will perform a series of scans, blood tests and often urine tests.

Most of the time, a diagnosis can be made after a series of scans, blood, and urine tests. Some nodules may be indeterminate and require surveillance imaging – repeating scans over some time to see if the nodule changes size. If surgery is recommended, Dr Moar will discuss this with you.

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