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Pediatric liver cysts and abscesses.

Cystic liver lesions in children pose diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas. When discovered during evaluation of abdominal distension, the likely cause is benign hepatic cyst. Surgical intervention aimed at resection is highly curative. Echinococcal disease, usually distinguishable from nonparasitic cystic disease, is rare in children in the United States. Therapy is aimed at sterilization and complete excision of hydatid tissue. Cystic liver lesions in septic children represent liver abscesses, pyogenic or amebic, which are frequently fatal if not diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Ultrasonography and computed tomography have simplified the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, but a high index of suspicion is required because the signs and symptoms of liver abscess in children are nonspecific.

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