Adrenal abscess

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 28 Aug 2018

Adrenal abscesses are rare lesions affecting the adrenal glands and are usually encountered in the setting of disseminated infection.


Although cases have been described in both neonates and adults, no systematic literature is available on the epidemiology of adrenal abscesses. 


Hematogenous seeding of the adrenal gland is the most likely cause of an adrenal abscess. Infections from a range of organisms including Streptococcus pneumoniae and Norcardia spp. have been reported 1,2.

Radiographic features


CT may show an inhomogeneous mass (owing to areas of necrosis within the abscess) that may rapidly increase in size. A rapid increase in the size of the lesion differentiates it from an adrenal tumor 3.

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