Computed tomography (CT) of the adrenal glands


To describe the role of these small paired organs in the whole organism, you need a lot of time. Pathology of the adrenal glands impact on the state of the whole organism and can lead to disability. Effective method of diagnosis is computed tomography of the adrenal glands.

Adrenal glands – glands of internal secretion, are small in size and are located on the upper poles of the kidneys. The adrenal glands are involved in the production of hormones, being a link of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. They play a key role in the production of neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine), and are also involved in metabolic processes, stimulating the transformation of carbohydrates in fats and proteins and Vice versa.

Conducts scanning computer tomograph, which has a special installation in the form of a ring. Installation, revolving around the table, which is the patient emits x-ray beam, which permeates the study on the spiral, so KT is called a spiral scan. The latest generation of CT scanners are equipped with multiple x-ray emitters, therefore, to explore the body within one turn of the ring installation. The study on this unit call multislice computed tomography. It can be done in native way and with contrast. The use of contrast is preferable, as it significantly improves visualization of the adrenal gland. Injected contrast substance intravenously during the preparation of the patient in the office KT, you can enter the contrast agent during the study with the help of automatic device – injector. For use of peripheral veins, usually on the hands.

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The duration of the procedure depends on the type of scanner and is usually about ten minutes, multi-detector set-up can reduce the time to a few minutes.

Pathology of the adrenal glands, available SKT diagnosis

As a rule, adrenal disease do not manifest themselves with pain or other local symptoms, but an experienced physician can always suspect a problem with the appearance of General symptoms. Quick reduction or weight gain, not associated with changes in dietary preferences, changes in blood pressure, mood, tachycardia, excessive sweating, infertility and many other diseases can be due to pathology of the pituitary-adrenal system.

The most frequently cause symptoms are tumors of adrenal structures. It can be benign tumors, malignant tumors, and cysts. CT will identify each type of cancer diseases and also help to establish the extent of disease beyond the organ: which of the neighbouring organs the tumor struck, whether there are metastases in the lymph nodes. Detailed information about the disease will help to choose the right method of treatment: surgical treatment or radiotherapy.

Determines CT and diffuse hyperplasia of organs, in which in contrast to tumors, adrenal structure increase evenly. Hyperplasia may also cause hormonal and metabolic disturbances, but unlike tumours, the disease does not require surgery or the use of gamma rays, it is sufficient to carry out the correction of hormones and the condition of the patient stabiliziruemost.

Abscesses and carbuncles of the adrenal gland are extremely rare and usually develop as a result of generalization of infection to other organs (sepsis). However, using CT it is possible to identify such type of disease.

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How to prepare for the procedure?

The study is conducted, usually with contrast, so in preparation for CT should refrain from eating for five hours. Other specific training is not required.


CT is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation. Only in emergency used children. It is undesirable to repeat the procedure more than once a year. An alternative method of diagnosis in the presence of absolute contraindications, MRI is the study, it is safe for pregnant women and children and can recur repeatedly within a short time.

Contrast is contraindicated in allergies to the contrast and iodine, and also at infringement of function of kidneys, severe diabetes, diseases of the thyroid gland. In case of allergic reactions to contrast agents, the patient can be sent for an MRI, because during MRI using other contrast, non-cross-Allergy with rentgenocontrast.

The advantages of computed tomography over other types of diagnostics

For pathology using ultrasound, but this method has a low diagnostic ability in identifying early stages of disease. Sometimes the adrenal glands are not visible on ultrasound.

Modern MRI and CT scans allow for the diagnosis of diseases at the same level. However, MRI lasts much longer, has a wide range of contraindications and much more.


CT is the optimal choice for detecting pathology in adrenal tissue, even in the early stages. An equally important role in establishing an accurate diagnosis play laboratory parameters (hormone levels, blood chemistry, tumor markers), so CT is always supplemented by laboratory results.