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Digestive Disorders

Liver cysts

02/23/2007

Question:

An abdominal ultrasound recently showed two liver cysts. One of the cysts is 4 centimeters. I don`t have any symptoms or pain. Should I be concerned? What causes liver cysts?

Answer:

Liver cysts are very common and are often found incidentally on an ultrasound or CAT scan done for other reasons. Most cysts cause no problems. The larger the cyst, however, the more likely an individual may have symptoms such as abdominal pain or nausea. Very large cysts also may be more likely to rupture. Other than benign cysts, sometimes cysts in the liver are a result of an infection or cancer. Most cysts do not need to be treated because most cysts are benign. For larger cysts, however (>4cm), it's often recommended to obtain a follow-up ultrasound to make sure it's not growing larger in size.

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Response by:

Julia Gore Thornton, MD Julia Gore Thornton, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University