A small, simple liver cyst does not usually exhibit symptoms or require any treatment, but cysts can grow larger and cause pain in the upper right abdominal quadrant, according to Mayo Clinic. If symptoms cause treatment to become necessary, cysts are either drained or surgically removed.
About 5 percent of people develop liver cysts, but only about one in 20 of them ever experience symptoms, reports Cleveland Clinic. Liver cysts are thin-walled cavities filled with fluid that usually appear singly and do not impair the functioning of the liver. On rare occasions, a patient bleeds into the cyst, experiencing sudden, severe pain in the upper right quadrant and shoulder. Such cases generally resolve themselves within a few days.
Simple liver cysts are not cancerous and do not require treatment unless the patient develops symptoms, asserts Cleveland Clinic. Merely draining a cyst of fluid using a hyperdermic needle is not a permanently effective treatment because the cyst fills up again within days. Surgical removal of a substantial segment of the wall of the cyst is the principal manner of treatment, requiring only two or three small incisions and an overnight hospital stay. Patients usually recover fully within two weeks, and the chances of the cyst recurring are minimal.