Duke endocrinologists diagnose and treat adrenal gland disorders, including pheochromocytoma, Cushing's syndrome (elevated cortisol), and Conn’s syndrome (elevated aldosterone), all of which involve the overproduction of adrenal hormones. We also treat adrenal cancer, rare neuroendocrine tumors called paragangliomas, and a rare genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which affects the gland’s ability to produce hormones.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Urine and Blood Tests
These tests measure your hormone levels and can include:
- 24-hour urine testing for cortisol
- aldosterone and adrenaline tests
- testing to confirm overproduction of hormones from the adrenal glands
Cortisol Stimulation Test
Measures cortisol levels in your blood before and after you receive an injection of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). If your adrenal glands do not produce cortisol in response, they may not be working properly. This may indicate Addison’s disease or other adrenal insufficiencies.
CT and MRI Scans
Produce detailed, high-quality, 3-D pictures of your adrenal glands. Your doctor will use these scans to look for abnormalities.
MIBG (metaiodobenzylguanidine) Scan
This imaging test combines a substance called MIBG with a radioactive tracer to help detect pheochromocytoma (adrenal-producing tumors). MIBG gathers in certain types of tumors, which lets them show up more clearly on images taken with the scanner.
Drugs or hormones artificially stimulate production of -- or prevent your body from producing -- certain hormones so your doctor can see how your body reacts.
Measures cortisol levels in a sample of your saliva collected at night, when levels normally drop.
Why Choose Duke
Expert Care for Adrenal Disorders
Our specialists use the most advanced tests, surgeries, and treatments available today, as well as minimally invasive surgical options that can result in less pain, fewer complications, minimal scarring, and a shorter hospital stay.
Treatment for Rare Conditions
We remove rare endocrine tumors called paragangliomas and adrenal cancers that are often difficult to treat. We also treat adrenocortical carcinoma and a rare genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which affects the gland’s ability to produce hormones.
Hormone imbalances associated with adrenal disorders can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and metabolic issues. We develop personalized treatment plans tailored to your body’s needs and hormone levels.
Surgical Access Through Your Back
Our surgeons use a minimally invasive approach to access your adrenal glands through tiny incisions in your back. This direct access to your adrenal glands is in contrast to the traditional surgical approach, which uses an incision in your abdomen and requires surgeons to work around your liver, spleen, pancreas, and colon. Using small incisions speeds recovery and minimizes scarring and risk of injury to abdominal organs. We use this technique to remove cancerous masses that may have spread to the adrenal gland from other organs, such as isolated lung cancer, colon cancer, or ovarian cancer metastases.
When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our diabetes and endocrinology program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.