What Do Liver Lesions on a CT Scan Mean?

Liver lesions detected by a CT scan can be caused by many things, ranging from benign cysts to liver cancer, according to Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center. Many of these conditions are asymptomatic and have few or no long-term health consequences.

The most common type of liver lesions are hemangiomas, reports Sutter Health CPMC. These are more common in women, although men can get them as well. They do occasionally cause pain or other symptoms, which may require surgery. Focal fatty changes, which are a redistribution of fat on the liver, are common in patients with diabetes and obesity, among other conditions. Focal nodular hyperplasia is a type of benign liver tumor that, like hemangiomas, is usually asymptomatic and requires no treatment, notes the American Liver Foundation.

Metastatic liver lesions are more dangerous and potentially life-threatening because they continue to grow and spread throughout the body. The lesions can either start in the liver or spread to the liver from cancer in other parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society. The most common form of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, although there are some other rare forms, such as bile duct cancer. Metastatic liver lesions require treatment, which may include chemotherapy, surgery or radiofrequency ablation. The prognosis for metastatic lesions depends on the stage at which the cancer is detected, among other factors.