Benign liver tumours and cystic diseases of the liver

Benign liver tumours and cystic diseases of the liver

There are different types of abnormal growths or structures in the liver like benign tumours or cysts.  Benign liver tumors are non-malignant abnormal lumps or swellings of tissue caused by an uncontrolled build-up of cells. They are typically asymptomatic and are accidental findings during routine imaging tests. They don’t need any treatment or intervention; however, your doctor might conduct a biopsy to confirm non- malignancy.

Types of Benign liver tumors

Haemangiomas: Made up of newly formed abnormal blood vessels haemangiomas are usually not more than two inches in size. These do not need any intervention as long as they do not grow very large in which case a minor surgery called embolization is performed to reduce blood supply to the tumour.

Focal nodular hyperplasia: These are more common in women and are characterized by a pale colored central scar. They do not need any intervention.

Adenomas:  Hepatic adenomas are very rare and can grow up-to a few inches. There is a slight possibility of these becoming malignant and surgical removal might be advised in some cases.

Polycystic disease of the liver

Cysts of the liver are fluid filled sac-like structures typically present at birth. These are asymptomatic and do not need any medical treatment if they remain small. Polycystic disease of the liver in adults is an inherited disorder where multiple cysts develop in the liver. The cysts are typically present at birth and continue to grow as one enters adulthood. This disorder is often associated with polycystic kidney disease. 

Occasionally these cysts grow larger than 10 cm and can cause abdominal pain. These can result in an enlarged liver. Surgical treatment might be advised to drain the fluid from the cyst and to make the walls stick together to prevent future filling up with fluid. In some instances laparoscopic deroofing might be performed to reduce the size of large cysts.