Morphological analysis of adrenal glands: a prospective analysis.
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There is a lack of studies to document the weight range of normal adrenal glands. The aims of the current study are to find out the weight range of normal adrenal glands in Chinese patients and to analyze any potential factors affecting it. Adrenal glands not affected by disease were prospectively collected from autopsies on 333 Chinese patients (208 men, 125 women). The weight and longest dimension of each adrenal gland were noted. The impact of various clinicopathological factors on the adrenal weight was studied. In addition, the morphometric features of these adrenal glands were compared with that of 28 surgically resected adrenal glands with cortical adenomas. The mean combined weight of adrenal glands was 11.8 g (range = 5.8 g to 19.9 g). The left adrenal gland was often heavier than the right (mean weight = 6.1 g and 5.7 g respectively) and with a greater longitudinal length than the right (mean length = 5.2 cm and 4.8 cm respectively). Adrenal glands were often heavier in male, younger age group (less than 60-yr-old) and patients with history of hypertension or lung cancers. In comparison, the mean weight of right adrenal gland with cortical adenoma was 11.7 g (range = 6 g to 26 g) and that of left adrenal gland with cortical adenoma was 9.4 g (range = 4.6 g to 25 g). This is the first study in the English literature that provides data on the weight of normal adrenal glands in a solely Chinese population. Adrenal weight may be affected by patients' gender, age, laterality of adrenal gland and presence of systemic disease.