Liver Cyst Definition and Meaning
A so-called liver cyst is a cavity filled with fluid. In medicine, a liver cyst is also referred to as a benign tumor. The disease should not be confused with cystic liver.
What is a liver cyst?
Since a liver cyst is only accompanied by clinical symptoms in the rarest of cases, an initial finding is often only made as part of a random ultrasound examination. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Liver Cyst.
In modern medicine, a basic distinction is made between a so-called liver cyst and a so-called cyst liver.
Liver cysts usually appear rounded in shape. A liver cyst always stands out from the surrounding tissue. In addition, a liver cyst has another distinctive feature. In terms of statics, the fluid inside the cyst is enclosed by a relatively thin wall.
For those affected, however, a liver cyst does not pose a great danger at first. As a result of a relatively slow growth, a comprehensivetreatmentoften only necessary after several years.
The occurrence of a liver cyst is usually favored by various factors. Leading physicians name a hereditary predisposition as one of the most common causes of a liver cyst.
In addition to a hereditary predisposition, so-called undesirable developments can also be considered as a cause for the occurrence of liver cysts. The tissue of those affected already shows a pathological change before birth. If the liver cyst is a parasitic liver cyst, the primary cause is an infection with a tapeworm.
It is not uncommon for a liver cyst to develop as a late consequence of severe trauma. In order for the most effective therapy to be tackled, a liver cyst must be diagnosed as precisely as possible.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In many cases, a liver cyst does not cause any symptoms or symptoms. Therefore, it often takes years before the disease is recognized. In the case of hereditary cysts in particular, there are no clear signs of illness and the cavity does not necessarily have to be treated. Occasionally, however, jaundice, upper abdominal pain, and other symptoms may develop.
Digestive problems and eating disorders can also occur, often accompanied by loss of appetite and gradual weight loss. Other possible eating disorders are a persistent feeling of fullness and severe cravings. Very large cysts cause severe pressure pain. They can also lead to liver dysfunction and severe malaise.
A liver cyst usually cannot be identified externally. Only larger growths cause slight swelling, which can be seen in the upper abdomen. If the liver cyst is treated early, the symptoms usually subside quickly. Most patients are completely free of symptoms after just a few weeks.
However, if no or insufficient treatment is given, the cyst can continue to grow and cause serious liver damage. In extreme cases, liver failure occurs, which can be fatal if left untreated. Before that, however, the cyst causes clear symptoms, which usually motivate those affected to see a doctor.
Diagnosis & History
Since a liver cyst is only accompanied by clinical symptoms in the rarest of cases, an initial finding is often only made as part of a random ultrasound examination.
If there is an initial suspicion of a liver cyst, an examination using computed tomography is considered. In order to enable the liver cyst to be displayed in as much detail as possible, the administration of a so-called contrast medium is ordered as part of the examination. This is the only way to determine whether the cyst is endangering neighboring vessels or access to other organs.
In addition to the imaging procedures, a comprehensive blood test is ordered to diagnose a liver cyst. A comprehensive blood test, for example, can identify parasites as the cause of a liver cyst.
Depending on their size, location and cause, liver cysts can lead to a variety of complications. Large liver cysts from a size of about ten centimeters can displace the surrounding organs. This is usually associated with pain in the upper abdomen, but can also lead to rupture and bleeding. Larger hemangiomas can also cause functional and circulatory disorders in the liver tissue.
In the worst case, this can lead to organ failure. Bile fistulas and bile cysts develop more frequently, which on the one hand increase the risk of peritonitis. On the other hand, an overarching gallbladder infection can cause severe subsequent symptoms such as jaundice, fever and chills. All complications are associated with severe pain and physical discomfort, which in the long term also affects the psychological condition of those affected.
Treating a liver cyst can also cause complications. Nerve injuries and bleeding can occur during a surgical procedure. After an operation, the scars can lead to functional disorders. Bleeding, secondary bleeding and infections can also occur, as a result of which health problems (e.g. sepsis due to secondary bleeding, liver or peritonitis due to infection) can occur. The prescribed medicines can trigger allergies and cause various side effects.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the affected person suffers from loss of appetite, unwanted weight loss or problems with the digestive tract, a doctor should be consulted. If you experience food cravings, a feeling of fullness, flatulence or repeated belching after eating, you should consult a doctor. If you experience pain, an uncomfortable feeling of pressure or general discomfort, consult a doctor. If pain from the upper abdomen spreads further or increases in intensity, a doctor should be consulted. Before taking any pain-relieving medication, you should always consult your doctor. Swelling, edema or changes in the skin’s appearance must be examined and treated.
If yellowing of the skin on the face or body is noticed, this indicates disturbances in liver activity. A doctor’s visit is recommended to initiate treatment. If there is a drop in the performance level, a feeling of illness or an inner weakness, the person concerned needs help. Persistent dizziness, nausea, or vomiting are also causes for concern. A doctor’s visit is necessary to determine the cause of the symptoms. Adults should always take part in regular check-ups and check-ups to enable early detection. Since the liver cyst causes irreparable organ damage or death in severe cases, a doctor should be consulted as soon as the first symptoms and irregularities appear.
Treatment & Therapy
If a liver cyst has been clearly diagnosed, a therapy tailored to the patient can be tackled. In relation to the choice of a suitable therapy, the size of the liver cyst and its location are also taken into account.
Surgical removal of the liver cyst is only performed if complications are to be expected due to the size and location. Parasitic cysts are always surgically removed. This prevents the parasites that cause it from spreading. After the operation, the patient is given special medication.
It is not uncommon for liver cysts to cause irreparable damage to the liver. In this case, a liver transplant is necessary. As an alternative to surgery, an alternative treatment method is offered, especially for fluid-filled cysts. During the so-called puncture, the doctor treating you inserts a relatively thin needle into the cyst.
The needle can be precisely positioned by using an imaging method. The accumulated liquid is sucked out via the needle. With regard to this procedure, however, the so-called recurrence rate must be taken into account. In most cases, the remaining cavity often fills up again with liquid. Further treatment is then mandatory.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of the liver cyst depends on the location and size of the cyst. In most cases, the liver cyst goes unnoticed for many years or is treated late due to its slow growth. However, complications and adversities can arise. Without check-ups or medical treatment, there is a chance that organ failure will occur. This puts the patient in a life-threatening condition.
If the cyst is surgically removed, the patient is usually discharged from the treatment after the wound has healed. This is followed by a check-up visit, but further therapies are not necessary. This favorable prognosis worsens as soon as complications arise during the operation. If the surrounding tissue has been damaged, this can lead to impairment of the functional disorder in the long term. This development is also possible if the cyst is particularly large or located in an awkward position.
If irreparable damage to the organ occurs, a donor liver is required. Otherwise, the average life expectancy of those affected will be significantly reduced. Organ transplantation is very complex and can present numerous challenges. Nevertheless, this treatment method represents the only therapy option in the case of existing organ damage. If the donor organ is accepted by the organism, the survival of the patient is assured.
Pet owners in particular can actively prevent a liver cyst. Since a parasitic liver cyst is always caused by a tapeworm, household pets should be wormed regularly. If a liver cyst is based on a hereditary predisposition, effective prevention is not possible. People who have already undergone therapy to treat cysts can prevent the cysts from forming again by taking special preparations. However, these preparations often have strong side effects and should be discussed with the doctor.
After treating cysts, comprehensive follow-up care is required. The patient must consult a doctor at regular intervals, who can carry out a check-up and initiate further measures. It is important to monitor the course of the disease and to clarify any symptoms. If there are signs that cysts have formed again, treatment must be initiated.
Cysts are usually detected during an ultrasound or computed tomography scan. If complications or complaints occur, such an examination must be carried out again. If the course is positive, visits to the doctor can be gradually reduced.
In the first weeks of remission, the patient should consult a doctor regularly. After a few weeks without detecting any complications, visits to the doctor can be reduced to once a month, every three months and finally every six months. Patients who have been diagnosed with a liver cyst must be examined by a doctor until the end of their lives, as there is an increased risk of the symptoms coming back.
The doctor who was already responsible for treating the cyst is usually responsible for aftercare. Depending on the symptoms, other doctors such as a nutritionist or an internist may need to be consulted.
You can do that yourself
Patients suffering from a liver cyst require medical attention. Accompanying the medical therapy, some self-help measures can be used to counteract the individual symptoms.
First of all, the diet should be changed. Foods such as steamed vegetables, cereals, bread and fruit juices relieve the symptoms and soothe the irritated gastrointestinal tract. Proven home remedies such as a rolling cure with chamomile tea or relaxation exercises help with abdominal pain. The doctor will also recommend bed rest and rest. Since weight loss usually occurs in connection with a liver cyst, appropriate countermeasures must be taken: drink a lot, eat as balanced as possible despite symptoms and take nutritional supplements in the event of deficiency symptoms. Appetizers from the drugstore help against loss of appetite and feelings of fullness.
The liver cyst itself can usually only be treated surgically. Those affected should consult closely with the responsible doctor and comply with his instructions. Especially after the procedure, it is important to protect the body and especially the liver. At the same time, the cause of the liver cyst must be determined. Depending on what the trigger is, preventive measures can then be taken to avoid the cyst forming again.