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Adrenal Gland Biopsy


An adrenal gland biopsy is a procedure used to check for a mass, cyst, or other problems. A sample of tissue is taken from your adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones that help regulate your blood pressure, immune system, and metabolism.


The week before your procedure:

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home.
  • Ask your surgeon if you need to stop using aspirin or any other medicine before your procedure.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your surgeon. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your surgeon if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may need imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to plan the safest way to do the biopsy.

The night before your procedure:

You may be told not to eat or drink after midnight.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your procedure. Tell him or her if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past. You will need anesthesia to numb the procedure area.


What will happen:

A CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound may be used to guide your surgeon during the biopsy. In some cases, a scope may be put through a small incision in your abdomen. The scope is a tube with a light and camera on the end. A long biopsy needle will then be inserted through your skin, or scope, and into your adrenal gland. Your surgeon may need to insert the needle more than once to get enough tissue for testing. The needle and scope will be removed when your surgeon has a large enough tissue sample for testing.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay.


  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.


You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. The tissue sample may be too small for testing and you may need another biopsy. Nearby organs may be damaged during the procedure. Hypertensive crisis (severe high blood pressure) may occur. This is when you have a type of adrenal gland tumor called a pheochromocytoma and it is punctured during the biopsy. This may be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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