Adrenal gland and paraganglia
Nonneoplastic lesions
Ectopic adrenal tissue

Topic Completed: 1 February 2005

Minor changes: 15 January 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Ectopic adrenal tissue

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 1,848
Page views in 2020 to date: 942
Cite this page: Pernick N. Ectopic adrenal tissue. website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
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
Nonadrenal tissue present in adrenal gland

  • Very rare (except for metastases)

Case reports
Back to top