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Cysts in the Liver

  A recent CT scan showed many cysts in my liver. What does this mean? Is it serious?
Dear Marianne,
Most hepatic cysts are simple cysts and benign. They are often incidentally detected on ultrasound. Symptoms are rare and liver function tests are usually in the normal range. In infants, a rare disease called fibropolycystic liver disease has been described. It is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. It can be associated with cysts of the kidney as well. In adults, multiple liver cysts can be associated with polycystic kidney disease. This is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Therefore, other family members are likely to be affected. Another type of liver cyst occurs as a result of infection with a tapeworm called Echinococcus granulosus. The appearance of the cyst on imaging studies may suggest this diagnosis. Diagnosis is based on serologic testing.
Hepatic cysts arise from defective development of the intrahepatic bile ducts in the portal tracts. Symptoms associated with hepatic cysts include: abdominal distention and dull aching abdominal pain. Ascites (abdominal fluid accumulation) and jaundice are rare. Surgery is rarely necessary, but is considered the treatment of choice for large, symptomatic cysts or in patients incapacitated by massive liver enlargement. I hope you find this information helpful.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you want to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
*Keywords: hepatic cysts

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