Giant haemangioma of the liver: observation or resection?

Mark S Duxbury, O James Garden
Digestive Surgery 2010, 27 (1): 7-11

BACKGROUND: Haemangiomata are the most frequent benign solid liver lesion. The management of giant (> or =5 cm) haemangiomata of the liver remains controversial.

METHODS: A search of relevant peer-reviewed literature was conducted using PubMed and original articles were reviewed.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The vast majority of giant haemangiomata remain asymptomatic and have a benign and uncomplicated natural history. Decisions regarding the optimal management of giant haemangiomata depend on a high level of confidence in diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic biopsy to differentiate giant haemangiomata from malignant lesions should be discouraged. Despite limitations and alternative modalities, surgery remains the only consistently effective curative treatment for giant haemangiomata. Surgery is not generally justified to prevent complications in asymptomatic patients. Principal indications for the surgical management of giant haemangiomata include established complications, incapacitating symptoms and uncertainty of diagnosis. Patients should only be selected for surgery based on a careful assessment of risks and benefits of intervention.

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