Simple liver cysts are benign fluid filled cavities in the liver. It occurs in about 5% of the population. Polycystic liver has more than 20 cyst in the liver. It is a rare, congenital disease which often develops in conjunction with polycystic kidney disease. Simple cyst should be distinguished from other cystic lesions such as parasitic or hydatid cyst, or cystic tumour, such as cystadenoma or its malignant counterpart, cystadenocarcinoma.
Most liver cysts do not cause symptoms. If they do, symptoms are generally not specific, such as upper abdominal discomfort or fullness. Infected cyst or bleeding into the cyst may cause fever or sudden onset of pain.
Simple liver cyst is a developmental malformation of bile duct cells. Having a family history of liver cysts may increase one's risks of developing them.
Liver cysts can be diagnosed using ultrasound or CT scan. MRI may further characterise the liver cyst.
Simple liver cyst with no symptoms does not require treatment. Large liver cyst that cause symptom may benefit from surgical deroofing or removing part of the cyst wall, which is usually done by key hole surgery. Cystic tumour should be surgically removed because of its risks of malignant changes.