Objective To analyze surgical methods and evaluate treatment efficacy and safety for managing adrenal cystic lesions. Materials and methods All patients presenting with adrenal lesions of the West China Hospital were reviewed retrospectively from January 2003 to April 2013 and 47 were diagnosed as adrenal cysts. Basic information, clinical history, physical examination, laboratory investigations, abdominal ultrasound and enhanced computed tomography were detailed noted. Cysts with different surgical management were analyzed and surgery option operative time, postoperative complications and after-surgery hospital stay were all noted. The final diagnosis was judged by histopathology. Patients were followed from 3 month to 10 years. Results All the 47 patients with a mean age of 43.8 years were managed by surgical intervention. Compared laparoscopic technology with open technology, the laparoscopic has the advantage of a shorter operation time, shorter hospital stay after surgery and enhanced cosmesis. The histopathologic result was: 23 (50%) were endothelial cysts and 16 (35%) were pseudocysts. One patient had evidence to recurrence at the followed-up stage. Conclusion Adrenal cysts are rare and with the development of imaging techniques many of these are diagnosed incidentally. CT has advantages in detecting the cysts with haemorrhage, intracystic debris, calcification and mixed adrenal mass. Minimally invasive surgery offers equivalent efficacy to traditional open procedures, while providing a shorter operation time, shorter convalescence and improved cosmesis. Patients after surgical resection should be followed up closely especially if functional cysts and histopathology of cystic tumor are present.