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How are liver cysts treated?

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Quick Answer

The majority of liver cysts require no treatment, according to the American Liver Foundation. Large or painful cysts are either drained or taken out surgically. Removal is also needed if a cyst prevents the movement of bile from the liver to the intestines.

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Echinococcus, a parasite, sometimes causes liver cysts, ALF states. In these cases, the condition is treated with antibiotics.

A liver cyst is a fluid-filled sac on the organ, explains Cleveland Clinic. Only about 5 percent of people have these cysts, and only 5 percent of those show any symptoms. Large liver cysts sometimes result in bloating and pain in the upper right abdomen, ALF says. Extremely large cysts are detectable through touch. In rare cases, the cysts lead to liver failure or liver cancer.

Liver cysts usually take a long time to develop, and most go unnoticed, ALF says. If cysts are detected, it is usually in adults who are undergoing ultrasounds or CT scans. Doctors also order CT scans if patients have symptoms of liver cysts.

Some people with polycystic liver disease, a genetic condition, are born with liver cysts, reports ALF. More women than men have them. The condition is closely associated with polycystic kidney disease, or kidney cysts. These sometimes lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure. In certain cases, liver and kidney transplants are needed.

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