Adrenal adenoma, or benign tumors beginning on the adrenal glands in the cortex, usually require no treatment. However, in some cases, adrenal adenoma can cause high levels of certain hormones to be secreted and require surgical excision, according to the Merck Manual.
Benign tumors of the adrenal gland, also called adrenal adenoma, are usually discovered during CT or MRI tests conducted for other reasons, the Merck Manual says.
If the tumors are non-functioning – meaning that they do not cause excess levels of hormones to be released – and are less than 2 centimeters, the patient is usually only observed. Tumors larger than 4 centimeters are usually excised because imaging devices are unable to determine malignancy, states the Merck Manual.
Most of these tumors secrete cortisol, which regulates carbohydrate metabolism and the immune system and maintains blood pressure, as Reference.com indicates. However, the amount of cortisol released is usually too small to cause symptoms and it is unclear whether the masses would eventually cause symptoms or morbidity, the Merck Manual notes.
If tumors are hormonally functional, Cushing's syndrome could be the first indication of adrenal adenoma. Cushing's syndrome is caused by the excessive release of steroids from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. This causes symptoms such as obesity, female facial hair, menstrual irregularity or loss of period, a marked increase in susceptibility to infections, and osteoporosis, states the University of Southern California Surgery Department.