Liver Cysts and polycystic liver diseases


Liver Cysts are the abnormal development of a fluid-filled sac that is formed within the liver parenchyma.
 As we know liver is the second largest organ in the body and it has a smooth, uniform structure. But in the case of the polycystic liver disease, there is a development of multiple abnormal fluid-filled cavities within the liver, and the appearance of theses cysts is just like a cluster of large grapes.

Cysts also can grow independently in different parts of the liver. Polycystic liver diseases is characterized by the progressive growth of cysts of various sizes that are scattered throughout the liver.

Causes of liver Cysts and polycystic liver diseases 

In most cases cause is unknown. Liver Cysts are often congenital i.e present at birth or they may can develop in later in their life as well. Besides these, they may also develop in patients who have an infection with the Echinococcus tapeworm. ( Also called as cystic hydatid diseases, or Echinococcus can causes cysts in the lungs,liver, kidneys, brain as well as other organs present in the body. They’re benign growths, meaning they aren’t cancerous.

Most of the polycystic liver disease cases are inherited as an Autosomal Dominant fashion and most commonly seen in women than men. And half of the patients will also have Autosomal Dominant polycystic kidney diseases.

Clinical features 

Most of liver Cysts don’t cause any symptoms and have normal life however if in case symptoms do develop then they may include such as follows:- 

  • Bloating or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Sharp & sudden pain in the upper section  of stomach 
  • A feeling of fullness 
  • A felling of shortness of breath.
  • Enlargment of the liver ( Hepatomegaly).
  • Indigestion
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) 

Related Disorders :

  • Caroli syndrome 
  • Congenital hepatic fibrosis
  • Bile duct (choledochal) cysts 
  • Neoplastic cysts 
  • Hydatid cyst

Major complications

  • Bleeding into a cyst 
  • Development of infections into the cysts
  • Obstruction of bile ducts happen and that results obstructive jaundice.


As we know most of the liver Cysts don’t cause any symptoms, they usually can be detected by using ultrasound or CT abdomen or MRI.
Blood test in order to rule out a parasitic cause of the liver Cysts as well as Genetic analysis.


Mostly patients having liver Cysts don’t require treatment unless they experience any symptoms. But when patients do experience symptoms then patients need treatment and the most effective treatment for liver Cysts is surgical removal mostly by the surgeon using a laparascopic approach , which involves making just 2 or 3 small incisions into the abdomen. Cyst aspiration is done in case of a cyst is blocking a bile duct or if it has become infected.Cyst fenestration can be done by a surgeon in case of large cysts  when present on liver surface.

Antibiotics can be given for the patients having Echinococcus infection. But in some rare instances patients with polycystic liver diseases that may required liver transportation in case if patients’ symptoms aggravated and having life-threatening conditions. Nothing much can be done in order to prevent the growth of liver cysts if patients develop polycystic liver diseases. Some researchers say that the octreotide (Sandostatin), when given IV or by injection, can lower the number of liver cysts which are associated with polycystic liver diseases.


Early detection of cysts and proper treatment result good prognosis.

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