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Hepatic cyst

Q:What Is Hepatic cyst ?

Hepatic cyst refers to a fluid filled mass in the liver, although the term is commonly used for simple cysts i.e. cysts not caused by a parasitic infection.

Q: What are the types of Hepatic cyst?

Several diseases may produce cystic lesions in the liver, which could be a true simple cyst (not because of an infection), multiple cysts as part of polycystic liver disease (PCLD), parasitic or hydatid (echinococcal) cysts, cystic tumors, and abscesses (infections).

Q:How common is the problem? Who is more likely to be affected?

It is estimated that about 5% of the population may have liver cysts, more commonly in women, but remain undiagnosed, because most of them do not have any symptoms. Only about 10-15% of people have symptoms that bring the cyst to clinical attention. Often, they are incidentally found on ultrasonography (USG), CT scan and other imaging tests performed for another disease, or at the time of an abdominal operation.


Q:Why does it happen? How does it progress?

The cause of simple liver cysts is not known, but they are believed to be congenital in origin (present from birth). The fluid is continually secreted by the wall of the cyst and therefore if the fluid is sucked into a syringe through a needle, it would accumulate again.

Polycystic liver disease (AD-PCLD) is also congenital and is usually part of disease process where cysts are found in kidneys as well. People with cysts both in kidney and liver generally tend to have kidney disease predominantly, with liver cysts rarely causing symptoms or liver failure. Women are more commonly affected, the cysts may increase in size and number with use of oral contraceptives.

Q:What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatic cyst ?

Simple cysts generally cause no symptoms but may produce dull pain in right upper abdomen, abdominal bloating or early satiety. Occasionally, when the cyst is very large, a lump may be felt in the abdomen. Rarely, it may obstruct the bile duct to produce jaundice, rupture to produce acute abdominal pain or get infected to produce liver abscess (abdominal pain, fever, and raised blood counts).

In poly-cystic liver disease, the liver may be enlarged causing abdominal pain and occasionally even liver failure.


Q: Which tests and examinations are required to diagnose / evaluate this disease?


Q:What is the best treatment for cyst?

Simple cysts not producing any symptoms do not need any treatment and can be observed with regular ultrasound (USG) tests. If the cyst gets infected or produces severe symptoms, it can be removed surgically. Some other liver cysts may require surgery for their removal.


Q:What is the expected prognosis (Outlook) after various treatments?

Prognosis of hepatic cysts is good treated before development of complications.