Adrenal Gland Disorders
Adrenal adenomas are benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the adrenal gland. They are found on the outer layer of the gland, called the adrenal cortex. When it is acting normally the adrenal cortex makes hormones called steroids. An adrenal adenoma may also produce steroidal hormones; this is called "functioning." While this may sound non-threatening, in fact, adenomas of this type can produce excessive amounts of steroid hormones that can have serious consequences.
Functioning and Non-functioning Adrenal Adenormas
If an adrenal adenoma does not produce a hormone it is termed "non-functioning." Adrenal adenomas are often discovered incidentally while scanning a person for an unrelated condition. All adrenal masses (lumps) need careful evaluation, especially to see whether they are "functioning adenomas."
Treatment for Functioning Adrenal Adenormas
The treatment of a functioning adenoma is to remove the affected adrenal gland (adrenalectomy) with either laparoscopic or conventional surgery.