A 61-year-old man went to the Emergency Department with left upper abdominal quadrant pain and low-grade fever, as well as a loss of weight (3 kg in 6 weeks). A solid-cystic lesion in the left adrenal lodge was discovered by abdominal ultrasonography. A slight increase in the serum amylase with normal lipase was observed, but there were no signs or symptoms of pancreatitis. A contrast-enhanced CT revealed a tumor that was suspected of adrenocortical cancer. Therefore, he was referred to the endocrine unit. The hormonal evaluation revealed no signs of excessive or inadequate adrenal secretion. To characterize the mass, an MRI was performed; the lesion showed an inhomogeneous fluid collection with peripheral wall contrast-enhancement, as well as a minor 18-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake at PET/CT images. The risk of primary adrenal cancer was minimal after the multidisciplinary discussion. An acute necrotic collection after focal pancreatitis was suspected, according to the characteristics of imaging. Both CT-guided drainage of the necrotic accumulation and laboratory analysis of the aspirated fluid confirmed the diagnosis.
Different types of expansive processes can mimic adrenal incidentalomas.
Necrotic collection after acute focal pancreatitis could be misdiagnosed as an adrenal mass, since its CT characteristics could be equivocal.
MRI has stronger capacities than CT in differentiating complex lesions of the adrenal lodge.
A multidisciplinary approach is fundamental in the management of patients with a newly discovered adrenal incidentaloma and equivocal/suspicious imaging features (low lipid content and size >4 cm).