Liver cysts

Liver cysts are generally thin-walled structures that contain fluid. Most cysts are single, although some patients may have several.

Liver cysts occur in approximately 5% of the population but only about 5% of those individuals ever develop symptoms. The symptoms associated with liver cysts include upper abdominal fullness, discomfort or pain.

A small number of patients bleed into the cyst, which causes sudden and severe right upper quadrant and shoulder pain. The bleeding stops on its own, and the pain then improves over the next several days.

Liver cysts do not impair the liver’s ability to function. Cysts are usually found by ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan. Simple liver cysts are always benign. Only patients who develop symptoms will require treatment.