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Adrenal gland and paraganglia

Congenital anomalies

Accessory adrenal tissue

Reviewer: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 6 February 2013, last major update February 2005
Copyright: (c) 2002-2013, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● 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

Metastatic renal cell carcinoma
● Other clear cell tumors

Non-adrenal tissue present in adrenal gland


● Very rare (except for metastases)

Case reports

● Benign intraadrenal thyroid tissue (Hum Pathol 1999;30:105)

End of Adrenal gland and paraganglia > Congenital anomalies > Accessory adrenal tissue

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