How Are Benign Liver Tumors in Adults Diagnosed?


Quick Answer

Benign liver tumors in adults are diagnosed through imaging studies, such as computed tomography scans or abdominal ultrasounds, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Imaging studies can show enlarged lymph nodes, lesion size and location, blood clots, evidence of cirrhosis and lesion vasculature structure. An unclear diagnosis may result in the doctor conducting a liver biopsy. Blood tests are also used as diagnostic tools, as well as to evaluate the liver's health.

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Full Answer

The three types of benign liver tumors are hemangiomas, hepatic adenomas and focal nodular hyperplasia, states the University of California San Francisco. Hemangiomas typically do not cause symptoms and are the most common type of benign liver tumor. Surgical excision of the tumor is necessary if it bleeds. The American Liver Foundation indicates that as many as 5 percent of the United States adult population have small liver hemangiomas, and they are more common in women than men.

Hepatic adenomas usually do not cause symptoms, but they may require removal if they cause blood loss, a stomach mass or stomach pain, explains UCSF. Focal nodular hyperplasia is sometimes difficult to distinguish from true liver cancers, and the tumors are removed if symptoms are present.

The original benign tumor usually does not grow back after surgery, notes UCSF. The tumor may cause problems if it grows too big; however, they typically do not spread within the body.

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