Ectopic adrenal gland in an adult inguinal hernial sac: A case report

Mersad Alimoradi, Etienne El-Helou, Hassan Sabra, Rawan Azaki, Mayssaloun Khairallah, and Nazem Matta

Published online 2020 May 30. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2020.05.047



A 37-year-old male patient operated for inguinal hernia repair was found to have ectopic adrenocortical tissue in the hernial sac.

Case presentation

A 37-year-old man was admitted for bilateral inguinal hernia. An uneventful open repair was done, and the resected hernial sacs were sent to pathology. Histopathology reported the presence of adrenocortical tissue in the right inguinal hernial sac.


Ectopic adrenocortical tissue (EACT) in the groin region is not an unusual finding in children, however, it’s rarely reported in adult patients. Only 9 cases have been reported in English describing EACT in an adult’s inguinal hernia. The finding can be attributed to the close proximity of the developing gonads and adrenal cortex during embryogenesis, and subsequent mechanical translocation of adrenocortical tissue during testicular descent. Some theoretical clinical implications exist for this condition, including secondary hyperplasia after adrenalectomy, adrenal insufficiency in certain situations, and possible neoplastic transformation. Generally, it is recommended that surgeons resect ectopic adrenal glands when identified intra-operatively. However, actively searching for these glands has no known benefit and carries some surgical risks, and is hence not recommended. It is reasonable as well, that clinicians keep the clinical implications of this finding in mind during future follow-ups with such patients.


The presence of ectopic adrenocortical tissue in inguinal hernia sacs is a rare encounter in adults. The condition can have several theoretical clinical implications that need to be considered by surgeons while assessing patients in whom this phenomenon is observed.

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