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21.06.2017 | Ausgabe 1/2018

Surgical Endoscopy 1/2018

Long-term outcomes and quality of life after surgical or conservative treatment of benign simple liver cysts

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 1/2018
Philip de Reuver, Izak van der Walt, Maria Albania, Jaswinder S. Samra, Thomas J. Hugh



Benign liver cysts are common and are often detected incidentally. Most patients do not require intervention. Occasionally, large dominant or multifocal small cysts cause symptoms as a result of rapid growth, secondary infection, intra-cystic bleeding or compression of adjacent organs.


To compare presenting symptoms and outcomes of a consecutive series of patients with benign liver cysts treated either conservatively or by surgical intervention. Long-term quality of life (QoL) was also assessed.


Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted. Long-term general and disease-specific quality of life was also documented.


Ninety-five patients were included in the study (46 treated operatively, 49 treated conservatively). 80% were female, and the mean age of the cohort was 58 years. Those who had surgical intervention were older (62 vs 55 years, p = 0.004), were more likely to have shortness of breath at presentation (11 vs 5%, p = 0.018) and had larger cysts (12 vs 4 cm, p < 0.001) compared with those offered conservative treatment. Laparoscopic stapled excision was the most common operative procedure (70%) and the overall complication rate was 20%. At a median follow-up of 64 months, 17% (8/46) of the surgically treated patients had radiological evidence of cyst recurrence but only 9% (4/46) were symptomatic. At median follow-up of 71 months, 37% (14/38) of conservatively treated patients had unchanged or new symptoms compared to the first presentation. Furthermore, 10% (4/38) of this group had additional radiological or surgical intervention for persistent symptoms during the follow-up period. Overall, there was no difference in long-term QoL between the two groups.


Surgical intervention for selected patients with symptomatic benign liver cysts results in low long-term recurrence rates and excellent patient-reported outcomes and quality of life. Laparoscopic-stapled excision can be done safely and reliably in carefully selected patients.

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