Operative management of Cushing syndrome secondary to micronodular adrenal hyperplasia

Surgery. 2008 Jun;143(6):750-8. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2008.03.022.


Background: We reviewed our experience with micronodular adrenal hyperplasia (MAH), its pigmented variant primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD), and the association with Carney's complex (CNC) to better characterize these disorders.

Methods: This retrospective study analyzes clinical data and operative reports of 34 patients identified with MAH and/or PPNAD who underwent resection between 1969 and 2006 at the Clinical Research Center, an inpatient research hospital at the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms and anthropometric and biochemical data were used to evaluate effect of resection.

Results: Fifteen patients (44%) presented as adults and 19 (56%) as children. Twenty-five patients (74%) presented with noncyclic Cushing syndrome and 9 patients (26%) presented with cyclic Cushing syndrome. Thirty-one patients underwent bilateral resection; this was curative biochemically in 30 patients. Fourteen operations were performed laparoscopically (41%), and 20 were performed as open resections (59%). There was 1 postoperative complication in the laparoscopic group (7%) and 6 complications in the open group (30%; P = .20). Follow-up was available for 25 patients (74%). Statistically significant improvements in anthropometrics were observed for both adults and children. The most frequent manifestation of CNC requiring additional operation was cardiac myxoma, which was associated strongly with an atypical (cyclic) presentation of Cushing syndrome (P = .009).

Conclusion: Cushing syndrome due to MAH and PPNAD may be cured by bilateral adrenal resection. All patients should be screened for manifestations of CNC at the time of adrenal diagnosis with particular attention to cardiac disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Diseases / complications*
  • Adrenal Cortex Diseases / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Cortex Diseases / surgery*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / etiology
  • Adrenal Glands / pathology*
  • Adrenal Glands / physiopathology
  • Adrenal Glands / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cushing Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Cushing Syndrome / etiology*
  • Cushing Syndrome / surgery*
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Heart Neoplasms / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / complications
  • Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Hyperplasia / surgery
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Myxoma / diagnosis
  • Myxoma / etiology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies