Benign tumors, cancerous tumors, abnormal fat accumulations, cysts and abscesses are all possible causes of spots observed on the liver during medical scans, according to the California Pacific Medical Center of the Sutter Health Network. Physicians use blood tests, additional imaging tests and biopsies to pinpoint the exact cause of the spot, states the Mayo Clinic.
Tumors are solid masses that cause spots during imaging procedures, as Sutter Health explains. Cancerous, or malignant, tumors grow into nearby tissue and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body, while benign tumors do not spread to other body parts and rarely grow back after removal. The types of benign liver tumors include hemangiomas, focal nodular hyperplasias and adenomas. Abnormal fat accumulations, called fatty focal change, are another type of solid mass likely to cause spots on the liver. Fatty focal change occurs most often in patients with diabetes, obesity or malnourishment.
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that also cause spots during imaging exams, as indicated by Sutter Health. Bile duct cysts and simple liver cysts are often present at birth and rarely cause symptoms, but they show up as spots during liver exams. Polycystic liver disease typically causes multiple cysts in the liver and sometimes affects the kidneys as well. Liver abscesses, another type of cyst, occur as the result of bacterial, amebic or parasitic infections.