Hong Kong Med J 2007;13:353-8 | Number 5, October 2007
Is regular follow-up scan for giant liver haemangioma necessary?
Wilson WC Ng, YS Cheung, KF Lee, John Wong, Simon CH Yu, Paul SF Lee, Paul BS Lai
Division of Hepato-biliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To review the reliability of radiological diagnosis and need of regular scans for giant liver haemangioma, in terms of long-term outcome and management options.
DESIGN. Retrospective study.
SETTING. Division of Hepato-biliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Patients with giant liver haemangioma noted on initial imaging from February 1996 to July 2006.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Patient demographics, clinical assessments, management, and outcomes.
RESULTS. There were 42 female and 22 male patients with a median age of 49 (range, 27-84) years with a suspected haemangioma. The median maximal diameter of the lesions was 5.5 cm (range, 4.0-20.3 cm). They were first detected by ultrasonography (n=45), contrast-enhanced computed tomographic scan (n=18), or magnetic resonance imaging (n=1). Besides regular follow-up scans, 22 patients were investigated further to confirm the diagnosis/ exclude malignancy. Finally, 63 patients had a haemangioma and one had a hepatocellular carcinoma. Regarding the patients with haemangiomas, two were operated on for relief of pain and the rest were managed conservatively. The median duration of follow-up was 34 months. Most (54%) of the patients were asymptomatic, but in 17% the haemangioma enlarged to exceed its original size by more than 20%. There were no haemangioma-associated complications.
CONCLUSIONS. Majority of patients having giant liver haemangioma are asymptomatic and do not suffer complications. If the diagnosis is uncertain, selective further investigations may be necessary. Lesions with a confirmed diagnosis tend to remain static in size; performing regular scans for asymptomatic giant liver haemangiomas may not be necessary.
Key words: Hemangioma; Liver neoplasms; Magnetic resonance imaging; Tomography, X-ray computed
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