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An incidentaloma is a radiological neologism to denote a lesion found incidentally and of dubious clinical significance. Although it can refer to any incidental lesion (e.g. pituitary 3, thyroid 4), it is most often used to denote an incidental adrenal lesion, which is commonly an adrenal adenoma 1. Colloquially, some radiologists use the term interchangeably with adrenal adenoma, although clearly its use in a report would be confusing, and should be avoided. Most incidentalomas are asymptomatic.

If an adrenal adenoma is found incidentally, please refer to the Management of incidental adrenal masses: American College of Radiology white paper.

The likelihood of an incidental adrenal lesion being malignant is most strongly determined by the presence or absence of a malignancy elsewhere. In cases where a malignancy is present, up to 27% of incidental adrenal lesions represent adrenal metastases 6

History and etymology

The word 'incidentaloma' first appears in the literature in 1982 in a paper by Glenn W Geelhoed (fl. 2019), a surgeon, and Edward M Druy (fl. 2019), a radiologist 8.

Terms used in radiology

Article information

rID: 10832
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Incidentalomas
  • Incidental adrenal lesion

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: adrenal adenoma
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