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What tests can locate very small adrenal gland tumors?

When the adrenal glands appear normal or near-normal on CAT scan or MRI, nuclear medicine tests like an MIBG scan (metaiodobenzylguanidine scan) or PET scan (positron emission tomography scan) can be helpful. These tests use a weakly radioactive particle to home into the tumor so that it "lights up" on X-ray. The MIBG scan is specific for adrenaline-producing tumors while the PET scan identifies any very metabolically active tumors. Radioisotope scans may also be useful in detecting small paragangliomas, metastatic disease, and subtle areas of recurrent disease. They are also useful in screening patients with familial disorders where bilaterality and extra-adrenal pheochromocytomas (paragangliomas) are more common.

 

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