Liver Cystic Disease

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StatPearls [Internet]


Hepatic cysts (HCs) have been a common reason for consultation by gastroenterologists and hepatologists. HCs are defined as small abnormal fluid-filled lesions that develop within the liver tissue and usually arise from within hepatocytes, biliary cell epithelium, mesenchymal tissue, or metastases from extrahepatic organs. They may contain fluid or solid components. Liver cysts are mostly detected incidentally on imaging studies and tend to have a benign course. Small fractions are symptomatic and seldom associated with a significant life-threatening condition. HCs were discovered surgically before the use of diagnostic imaging. Simple cysts are the most common type. The prevalence of HCs is as high as 15-18% in the United States and 5 to 10% worldwide.

Most of the cases can be managed expectantly and do not require interventions. However, in a few cases, the cysts will be large enough to cause symptoms and require medical or surgical interventions.

The differential diagnosis for liver cystic diseases is broad and includes infectious, inflammatory, neoplastic, congenital, and traumatic etiologies. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, manifestation, and treatment modalities for different common primary hepatic cystic lesions rather than focusing on diagnosing and managing metastatic lesions, Infectious cysts, and Hepatocellular carcinoma.

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