What is the role of medical therapy in the treatment of hepatic/liver cysts?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Robert E Glasgow, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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No medical therapy has proved effective in reducing the size of simple hepatic cysts. Percutaneous aspiration guided by ultrasonography or computed tomography (CT) is technically simple but has been abandoned because the recurrence rates are nearly 100%. Aspiration combined with sclerosis with alcohol or other agents has been successful in some patients but has high failure and recurrence rates. Successful sclerosis depends on complete decompression of the cyst and apposition of the cyst walls. This is not possible if the cyst wall is thickened or if the cyst is large.

Percutaneous catheters should not be placed to drain simple cysts, because the cavity becomes contaminated, leading to the development of hepatic abscess. Unlike the typical pyogenic hepatic abscess, this problem is difficult to resolve with repeated catheter placements because of continued secretion from the cyst epithelium.

Polycystic liver disease/neoplastic cysts

No options are available for the medical treatment of PCLD or cystadenocarcinoma. Because of the malignant potential of cystadenoma, a role also does not exist for medical therapy for this lesion.

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