Adrenal gland and paraganglia
Congenital anomalies
Accessory adrenal tissue

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 14 January 2016, last major update February 2005

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

Cite this page: Accessory adrenal tissue. website. Accessed October 16th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Nests of adrenal tissue located away from adrenal gland
  • Also called heterotopia, although technically this term refers to displacement to an abnormal location, not the presence of accessory tissue elsewhere in body
  • Due to migration of adrenocortical primordial cells with gonads
Clinical features
  • Usually without accompanying medullary tissue; cases near celiac ganglion may also contain medullary tissue
  • Common sites: retroperitoneal space along urogenital ridge, beyond renal capsule in upper pole, hilum of ovary or testes and along course of spermatic cord
  • Present in 1% of inguinal hernia sacs
  • May be accompanied by malformation of epididymis
  • May be fused with liver or kidney and surrounded by a common capsule
  • May undergo same disease processes as ordinary adrenal glandular
Differential diagnosis
See also
Non-adrenal tissue present in adrenal gland

  • Very rare (except for metastases)

Case reports