Patients who are found to have tumors or masses in their livers need to be investigated using the imaging capabilities that are available to us. These include: computer tomography or CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, and transabdominal or endoscopic ultrasound.
Tumors of the liver can be divided into either benign or malignant tumors. The most common benign tumors include: simple adenomas, focal nodular hyperplasia, or cystic diseases. Other benign tumors include vascular tumors like hemangioma. Less common benign lesions include: fibroma, lipoma, teratoma, and hamartoma. Malignant tumors of the liver are either metastatic or spread from primary cancers elsewhere in the body or primary malignancies. Primary malignancies include: hepatocellular carcinoma and less common cholangiocarcinoma.
Patients who have liver tumors need to have these assessed by the radiographic modalities previously mentioned. A distinction needs to be made as to whether the tumor is benign or malignant.
Tumors of the liver can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Somebody who presents with a right upper quadrant pain usually has imaging studies which reveal the presence of absence of a liver mass. Once this has been diagnosed as previously mentioned an algorithm takes place or imaging studies to determine the nature of the lesion. Once the diagnosis has been made, a decision as whether surgery is indicated is then carried out. If the tumor is malignant and confined to one area of the liver and there is no evidence of tumor anywhere, the patient is a candidate for a surgical resection. Major liver surgery is very complex and should be carried out at major university hospital centers.